Lionel Messi, captain of the Argentinian National team he has no intention of retiring from international football after inspiring Argentina’s World Cup triumph.
The 35-year-old was widely expected to confirm that Sunday’s showpiece would be the last time he would represent his country on the global stage.
After inspiring their first victory since 1986, however, Messi confirmed it was his intention to play on and be present in four years’ time when America, Canada and Mexico will play host.
Asked if he was going to retire from international football, Messi told media: ‘No, I’m not going to retire from the national team.
‘I want to keep playing as World Cup champions with Argentina shirt.’
Messi produced a timeless display against France, scoring the opener from the penalty spot and playing his part in the goal which put his side 2-0 up after just 36 minutes.
A spirited France launched a stunning fightback and two quickfire goals from Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate, Kylian Mbappe, forced extra time.
Messi put Argentina ahead with just 12 minutes remaining, but an Mbappe penalty ensured a pulsating contest went the distance as he became the first man since Sir Geoff Hurst in 1966 to score a World Cup final hat-trick.
Both Messi and Mbappe scored in the shootout but it was the former who was able to celebrate the greatest triumph of his trophy-laden career.
‘It’s crazy that it happened this way’ he added. ‘I knew God was going to give it to me, I had a feeling it was going to be like this.
‘Now I’m going to enjoy. It was long awaited but here it is. Look how this cup is it, it’s beautiful. We can’t wait to be in Argentina to see how crazy it’s going to be.’
For Lionel Scaloni, the tournament’s youngest manager, the heroics of his team was almost too much to comprehend.
‘The match was completely insane,’ he said.
This comes after Lionel Messi has led Argentina to World Cup glory after the most thrilling final in the 92-year history of the tournament.
Argentina took the lead through Messi and Angel Di Maria, only for Kylian Mbappe to score a late brace. Messi restored Argentina’s lead in extra time, but Mbappe again hit back for France, completing his hat-trick and taking the game to a penalty shootout.
Argentina won the shootout 4-2, to claim the World Cup and victory in one of the sport’s all-time great games
One of the most exciting World Cup finals of all time was won on penalties by Argentina after Kylian Mbappe had scored a hat-trick to force the shootout.
Argentina were coasting to victory with an hour gone with the score at 2-0 thanks to goals by Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria. But when Di Maria came off in the 64th minute the game changed, and France and Mbappe’s confidence grew and grew.
The France forward scored twice in the space of two minutes, the first from the spot and the second a superb finish on the volley. That took the game to extra time.
Argentina went ahead through Messi’s close-range finish but Gonzalo Montiel’s handball gave Mbappe the chance to complete his hat-trick. He went the same way with his second penalty, hard to Emiliano Martinez’s right.
Martinez was Argentina’s hero in the shootout, saving a spot kick from Kingsley Coman before Aurelien Tchouameni put his effort wide. Montiel, who had given away the penalty in the 117th minute, scored the one that sealed the victory.