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36-year-old Messi: Retirement not on my mind

WASHINGTON | Xinhua | Lionel Messi has not yet thought about retirement and says age will not be a determining factor in his decision to end his playing career.

The 36-year-old said he would call time on his career only when he feels he is unable to contribute or loses his enjoyment for the game.

“I know that the moment I feel that I am no longer performing, that I am no longer enjoying it or helping my teammates [I will retire],” Messi said in an interview with the Big Time podcast published on Wednesday.

“I am very self-critical. I know when I am doing well, when I am not, when I play well and when I play poorly. When I feel it’s time to take that step, I will do it without thinking about age.

“If I feel good, I will try to continue competing because it’s what I like and what I know how to do.”

After leading Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup title in Qatar, Messi said he had achieved everything that had been hoped for in football. The Albiceleste captain scored two goals in the final against France and won the Golden Ball awarded to the tournament’s best player.

In an interview broadcast on Argentine television last July, Messi said, “Logically, because of my age, [retirement] won’t be far away.”

But the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner now seems less certain about how far his career could extend.

“I haven’t thought about it yet. For now, I try to enjoy each day, each moment, without thinking about the future. I don’t have anything clear yet,” the Inter Miami forward said.

“I hope to keep playing for a while longer, because that’s what I enjoy. When the time comes, I will surely find the path to what fulfills me and what I like, and a new role.”

Messi has scored 16 goals and provided seven assists in 19 appearances for Inter Miami, whom he joined on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain last July.

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