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I want to continue with Argentina as world champion - Messi

By Vincent Ashitey
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Argentina captain Lionel Messi will not retire from international football, saying he wants to continue playing as a world champion.

Messi scored twice for Argentina in Sunday's thrilling World Cup final over France as the game ended 3-3 after extra-time, before converting in the penalty shoot-out which his side won 4-2 to claim the biggest prize in football.

READ ALSO: Argentina win dramatic World Cup final on penalties

Despite being 35, Messi wants to carry on playing for his country beyond this World Cup putting to bed any doubts that he might retire.

"I will not retire," he said. "I want to continue playing as a World Cup champion.

"It's the most beautiful thing there is," Messi told TyC Sports. "Look what it is, it's beautiful, I wanted it a lot. God was going to give it to me, I had a feeling that it was this, we suffered a lot, but we got it.

"Obviously I wanted to close my career with this, I can't ask for anything anymore. Thank God he gave me everything. Closing almost my career like this, it's impressive.

"After this, what will there be? I was able to get the Copa América, World Cup… It came to me almost at the end. I love football, what I do. I enjoy being in the national team, the group, I want to continue living a few more games being world champion.

"I can't wait to be in Argentina to see how crazy that is going to be."

Scaloni: If Messi wants to keep playing, he'll be with us

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has told Messi that he can stay playing for Argentina as long as he wishes.

Scaloni, who was a team-mate of Messi's for Argentina, even suggested the possibility of Messi continuing until the next World Cup in 2026 when he would be 39.

"First of all, we need to save him a spot for the next World Cup in 2026 if he wants to keep playing. If he wants to keep playing, he'll be with us," said Scaloni, who became only the third manager to win the World Cup and Copa America.

"He's more than entitled to decide if he wants to keep playing for Argentina or not, and what he wants to do with his career. It's such a huge pleasure for us to coach him and his team-mates.

"Everything that he transmits to his team-mates is something unparallel, that I've never seen before. A player, a person who gives so much to his team-mates."