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Argentina captain Lionel Messi (pictured) said his international future will be determined by his country’s performance at the World Cup in Russia.
“It will depend on how far we go, how we’re going to finish” at the finals, Messi said in an interview with Spanish daily Sport.
“We’ve just lost three finals in a row, which has led to us going through some difficult moments with the press,” added the Barcelona forward.
“Notably with the Argentine press because we have differences of opinion over what it means to make these three finals.”
Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 to Germany after extra time, before suffering successive defeats by Chile on penalties at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.
Messi, who will turn 31 during the World Cup, believes Spain, Brazil, Germany, France and Belgium are the leading contenders for the title.
“There are lots of teams who arrive with lots of confidence, with both a team game and individual talents,” said the five-time world player of the year.
Argentina launch their World Cup campaign against Iceland on Saturday in Moscow, with games to follow against Croatia and Nigeria in Group D.
Meanwhile, Messi has revealed he has not yet made any plans for a career in management when he retires from football but is refusing to rule anything out.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is preparing to lead Argentina at the World Cup in Russia with Saturday’s Group D opener against Iceland fast approaching.
Russia is likely to be Messi’s final chance to win the World Cup while at the peak of his powers – he will be 34 by the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
But despite entering the twilight years of his playing career, Messi has not yet made any plans to go into management after he hangs up his boots.
‘I haven’t thought about it,’ Messi told Spanish outlet Sport. ‘I don’t want to. Everyone lives in their own way – I try to go year after year, calmly.
‘When the day arrives, we will see. I will find the path to follow, I will grab hold of it and we will see how everything goes. Right now I don’t see myself as a manager.’
Messi insists he has yet to make his mind up over his future when he hangs up his playing boots.