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Lionel Messi could play in the 2026 World Cup in USA, Canada and Mexico, says Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni – who says he will ‘save him a spot’ after the PSG star said he WON’T quit international soccer just yet

Lionel Messi could play in the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico – according to his Argentina coach, Lionel Scaloni.

Messi went into the 2022 competition in Qatar referring to it as his last World Cup and if it is, he signed off in the best possible way by winning the one trophy to have evaded him in his sensational career – in the most dramatic final in history.

But in the aftermath of the victory, there are already gentle signs that Messi could be extending his stay on the international arena and if Scaloni has his way, that could see Messi playing at a World Cup in North America.

‘First of all, we need to save him a spot for the World Cup 2026,’ Scaloni said of his star player. ‘If he wants to keep playing, he will be with us. 

Messi scored twice as Argentina defeated France on penalties in Qatar on Sunday

Messi scored twice as Argentina defeated France on penalties in Qatar on Sunday

‘I think he is more than entitled to decide whether he wants to keep playing or what he wants to do with his career.’

And Messi himself has said he is not going to step away from international football just yet.

There were suggestions Messi could step away from playing for his country if he won the World Cup, bowing out at the very top level.

But speaking after getting his hands on trophy, Messi said: ‘No, I’m not gonna retire from the national team. I want to keep playing as World Cup champions with Argentina shirt.’

After Sunday’s game, Messi has played 172 times for Argentina and has scored 98 goals following his double-strike against France.

Messi scored his first from the penalty spot to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. Angel di Maria made it 2-0 in the first half and Argentina looked set for a smooth victory when he rounded off a sweeping passing move with a clinical finish. 

But with 10 minutes left on the clock, France striker Kylian Mbappe – Messi’s teammate at French side PSG – turned the game on its head with two goals in two minutes, including one from the penalty spot himself.

Coach Scaloni believes that Messi could play on up to the next World Cup, which is in 2026

Coach Scaloni believes that Messi could play on up to the next World Cup, which is in 2026

That took the game to extra time and for a moment, it felt like momentum had slipped away from Argentina. 

Messi struck again, from close range, in the 108th minute but one final twist was still to come. 

Mbappe got his hat-trick after a handball in the France penalty area and the game went down to a shootout.

Messi and Mbappe scored their penalties but Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni missed for France.

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