Lionel Messi: ‘It will be my last’

“Above all, how did you show yourself before this first match?
Alright. I’m going through a good period, both personally and physically. I heard that there was a lot of commentary on the fact that I trained separately, etc. I received a blow, it was as a precaution, but nothing serious.

This is your fifth World Cup. What’s different with the other four?
It’s a different time of the season, we don’t arrive physically in the same situation. Usually, we have almost a month to prepare. There it is different, we will quickly enter the competition. We knew it was going to be like this. It’s always special to play in a World Cup. This will be the last for me, my last opportunity to achieve this great dream that we all have.

What have you learned from your tournament entry matches in the past and what do you think of Saudi Arabia?
We hope to be able to continue doing what we have been doing for some time with this team. But it will be a difficult part. Many in this group will play their first World Cup, there may be nervousness. But once past the first five minutes, we will try to get what we came for. Respecting the opponent, as always.

“It reminds me a lot of the 2014 group, which was very similar, very united”

Is the Argentinian group at this World Cup better than in 2014 and 2018?
I don’t know if we’re better, but we’re on a winning streak and that brings us more peace of mind. We work differently, people are less anxious. It reminds me a lot of the 2014 group, which was very similar, very united, who knew what they wanted when they went out on the pitch.

Are you living the happiest period of your career?
I don’t know, but I feel good, it’s true. I’m more mature, I try to make the most of every moment, to live it with intensity, everything that we experienced at the Copa America (2021, won by Argentina). Before, I didn’t think about it, I just thought about playing. Today, I am more aware of all these moments.

What are you going to say to your teammates who are going to play their first World Cup?
I’ll tell them I’ve been there; that at their age, I didn’t realize what I was going through. I will tell them to take advantage of it, that you never know if this experience will be repeated and if we will have another opportunity to play a World Cup. »

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