Lionel Messi conceded the 2018 World Cup could be his last chance at glory with Argentina.
The 30-year-old has been unable to follow up trophies at Barcelona with success on the international stage.
Messi endured three successive losses in major finals – World Cup (2014), Copa America (2015, 2016) – and the forward conceded those defeats have left him in tears.
“I cried many times because of games like these, for lost finals, for what they mean and for not being able to achieve the dream of a country,” Messi told Argentine television program La Cornisa.
“They [the three finals] were tough blows,” Messi continued. “It seems like having reached three finals doesn’t help us at all.”
Defeat in the most recent Copa America final led Messi to retire from international duty in 2016, but after the Argentine public, including president Mauricio Macri, urged him to reconsider, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner reversed his decision less than two months later.
Messi was instrumental in sending Argentina to Russia this summer, netting a hat-trick in their final qualification game against Ecuador to seal a third-place finish in the South American standings.
And after saving them from the brink of a humiliating exit, Messi admits this summer’s edition could be his final shot of World Cup success.
“We depend on the results, unfortunately,” Messi said. “We feel that if we are not champions … we will not have another.”
“I imagine being able to be in that game, to win it, to be able to raise the cup. It’s the dream I have always had and every time a World Cup comes it gets even stronger.
“I want to tell people that I hope it’s a great World Cup for us, that my wish is the same as all of you and that we can live something similar to 2014, which was an unforgettable experience, and that the result is similar but this time raising the cup is everyone’s dream.”
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