14 quotes from Messi: Qatar, 2026 World Cup, what to do after retirement and competition with Ronaldo

Argentine star Lionel Messi wins his eighth Ballon d’Or of 2023 at the Theater du Chatelet in Paris (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Lionel Messi He is a living legend of the sport. His stature has transcended football barriers, winning his eighth Ballon d’Or as he became the world’s best player for the eighth time in his career, beating Norwegian Erling Haaland and Frenchman Kylian Players like Mbappe.

After the results of each jury’s vote were announced, the Argentine gave an interview to France Football in which he analyzed his season. He reflects on Qatar 2022’s feat, whether he will participate in the next World Cup, life after retirement and the eternal sporting rivalry with Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.

His future as a footballer and how he sees himself after retirement:

– “I feel good. I always say I don’t think about the future, I move forward every day. I feel good physically. I’m going to rest for a few months. In my career, nothing like this has ever happened, Being suspended for so long. I will train again in January to stay in shape during pre-season to achieve our goals at the club and also prepare for the Copa America. I don’t know how much longer I can play. I want to continue Keep going until I feel I can’t take it anymore and my body no longer allows me to play the way I want. Time will tell.”

– “In principle we will return to live in Barcelona. This is our home, we have our habits, our friends. Be it my wife, my children or myself. But I don’t know what I will do now. I haven’t thought about it yet and I don’t want to. I want to enjoy my last few years as a footballer and do what I’ve loved doing since I was a kid. When I hang up my boots I will undoubtedly find my new path . Coach? “I don’t think so, but it’s definitely about football because that’s my whole life. “

2026 World Cup USA, Canada & Mexico:

– “Obviously we’ve always wanted to play in these types of tournaments, even more so after becoming world champions. But hey, there’s still a lot of time before that. Even though time flies, we’re still a few years away from the World Cup, I don’t want to look that far ahead. It’s not just about being there, it’s about feeling good and being able to contribute to the team. It seems difficult for me knowing the age I was at that time (39), but we’ll see See how my body feels.”

Rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo:

– “It was a very good ‘fight’ on a sporting level. We live off each other’s rivalry because we are both great competitors. He also always wanted to win everything. For both of them and all the love It’s a very happy moment for anyone in football. I think we deserve credit for being able to stay at the top for so long. It’s extremely difficult to stay at the top for ten, fifteen years. It’s a great moment for me. Think it’s still a great memory for everyone who follows us.”

Qatar World Cup 2022:

– “It was a very difficult moment because we didn’t expect the game to start like this. We haven’t lost in 36 games and at first glance we should have won that game because on paper they The most approachable team in the group, although I always respect all our opponents. We know that if we draw or lose again, we will go home. Also, we know there are a lot of expectations around us and we are competitive One of the favorites. So we had a tough time until the game against Mexico (2-0) where we had to get up and get back on the winning track.”

– “A few days before the game, the Dutch were already starting to make a statement and look out for us a little bit, especially the coach (Louis van Gaal) and the player (Memphis Depay) who was in the press conference the day before the game. And then came the World Cup The quarter-finals, a great game, against Argentina and the Netherlands. There were some strange situations in the game, some players behaved unfairly, especially in the penalty shootout. “After that game, People try to make Argentina the villain, but a lot happened that night… When things get tense, everyone reacts in their own way, but the rivalry has to end on the field. “

– “The fact that it’s a World Cup final is especially beautiful considering how much is at stake. We have evolved to an extraordinary level for almost eighty minutes. We dominated France to a great extent. We Possessing the ball and playing the way we wanted to play. But they quickly made it 1-2 and equalized immediately. It’s a shame because even if we were eventually crowned world champions we should have been in normal time Win the title at the end.

– “We are really confident in ourselves. I firmly believe in my heart that no matter what happens, we will be world champions. This draw is a heavy blow, but we have already been through the same situation against the Netherlands and the ball The team didn’t collapse and again had a very good overtime result. Of course it’s bad to be like this at the end of the game, but we know how to stay calm in situations like this.”

– “When I made it 3-2, I told myself that this time it is all over, we will be world champions and nothing will happen to us because there is not much time left. But France passed The penalty equalized the score and there was a “Dib” save… it happened so fast I couldn’t see clearly from where I was. Especially after this stop we hit back right away. To be honest, I was Didn’t realize what was happening. It wasn’t until later, when I saw the images again, that I realized how decisive ‘Dib’ was.”

– “A thousand things were running through my mind… It’s hard to explain how I felt at that moment. It was important for me to send a signal to my family in the stands so that I could share this with them. While waiting for this moment After all this time, I tell them: “That’s it, that’s it! “I have fought for this dream all my life. It is mine, but also my family, my friends and all of Argentina. I said to myself: “Okay, I won everything. “When I saw the World Cup on the stage, I couldn’t believe it was ours, we were the world champions. It was the first time I had the chance to touch her and I immediately wanted to kiss her. “I wanted to enjoy that moment. every second. “

– “We played at an extraordinary level in the final, but if ‘Dib’ hadn’t made that save at the end, we would have lost the game. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, we were better than our opponents in the final, But even then we failed to win. This time the story ended differently because it had to be because it was written that Argentina would become world champions. In the games we talked about before we did well . We have nothing to blame ourselves for.”

Golden ball:

– “I think it reflects my mentality and motivation, this desire to improve myself day after day and try to find new titles. I always say I love winning and I’m allergic to losing. I always make sure to stay competitive To do everything I can, prepare, live and train, almost only thinking about football, because I have fun when I play, I love it, it’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. I gave everything in my career to this .”

– “We haven’t seen players in years who can boast of winning titles. There could be a very good battle in the next few years with players like (Erling) Haaland, (Kylian) Mbappe, Vinicius Players like this… a lot of young people will fight for the next Ballon d’Or. I’m also thinking about (Lamine) Yamal is still young (16 years old), but he already plays for Barca and is decisive. Other players will Show up, just like it always happens. “This will be a new era that I will happily observe with an outsider’s eye. “

– “We have to recognize that Haaland has had an incredible season. He scored a lot of goals, won the Champions League and the treble with Manchester City. I’m sure he will be the Ballon d’Or for years to come. One of the players who is a regular candidate for the award. I would not be surprised if he wins soon. As for Kylian, it is somewhat the same: he had a very good season, especially a wonderful World Cup, with his goals Almost ruined our final. “In my opinion, he is one of the footballers who can win this award every year because he is obviously one of the best players in the world. “

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