Lionel Messi has reportedly confirmed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup final will be his last game at the world's biggest football tournament for Argentina. Messi was on target from the penalty spot, and also set up the third goal as Argentina defeated Croatia 3-0 in the first semi-final yesterday.
Messi, who has scored five goals in the tournament so far, also became Argentina's leading goalscorer in World Cups, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta (10) on the list. The 35-year-old has 11 World Cup goals to his name so far.
"I feel very happy to be able to achieve this, to finish my World Cup journey by playing my last game in a final," Messi reportedly told Argentine media outlet Diario Deportivo Ole.
"It's many years for the next one and I don't think I'll be able to do it. And to finish like this, it's the best," he added.
After the semi-final win over Croatia, Messi urged his teammates to "enjoy" the occasion.
"Argentina are, once again, in the World Cup final. Enjoy it!" said Messi.
"We've been through tough situations, other very good ones. Today we're experiencing something spectacular."
Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez scored twice to take his tally of goals in the tournament to four in as many games.
Argentina arrived in Qatar as one of the tournament favourites but doubts crept in after they lost their opening group game 1-2 against outsiders Saudi Arabia. They were unbeaten in 36 matches before arriving in Doha.
The two-time champions will now take on holders France in the final, which will be played at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday.