Lionel Messi Vows to Continue Playing for Argentina Beyond Copa América Final

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Lionel Messi plans to continue playing for Argentina beyond Sunday's Copa América final. "As I’ve said before, I intend to continue," he remarked following Argentina's 2-0 victory over Canada.

"I intend to keep living day by day without thinking about what will come in the future or whether I’ll continue or not. It’s something I just live each day. I’m 37 years old and only God knows when the end will be."

Messi scored his 109th international goal, his first in this year's tournament. It was his 14th in Copa América play, three short of the record.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner spoke after the match at the MetLife Stadium, where he had announced his retirement after missing a penalty in the shootout loss to Chile in the 2016 Copa América final.

He reversed his decision seven weeks later and has scored 54 goals in 73 international appearances since, raising his tally for Argentina to 186 caps. He has helped Argentina win the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 World Cup.

Team-mate Ángel Di María intends to retire after Sunday's match against either Uruguay or Colombia in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The 36-year-old Di María made his international debut in 2008 and has scored 31 goals in 144 appearances.

"It’s my last battle. There’s nothing left to say that I haven’t said many times before," Di María explained.

"It’s my last game. I have to say thank you to all Argentinians and to this generation that has allowed me to lift so many trophies."

Di María, alongside Messi, led Argentina to their third World Cup and 15th Copa América title.

"We’ve enjoyed him so much," Messi said. "He’s always given his all and the best of himself, and that he will retire in a final is something he simply deserves."

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni held out hope that Di María might reverse his decision.

"We don’t want to start crying right now. We don’t want to feel melancholy," Scaloni said. "We have to let him play, and then we’ll see if we can convince him to stay with us."

South American World Cup qualifying resumes in September, with each national team scheduled to play 12 more matches. The 2026 World Cup final will be at MetLife Stadium on 19th July.

"We will never be the ones to close the door," Scaloni said.

"He can be with our team for as long as he wants. And if he wants to retire but still come and hang around, it would be great. And if he wants to come with me somewhere else, I will take him everywhere so he can decide whatever he wants to do."