Age won't determine when I retire, says Messi, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Age won't determine when I retire, says Messi

MIAMI – Lionel Messi will not consider his age as a deciding factor in his retirement plans, the Argentinian attacker said, adding that he has no clear idea of what he will do when that time comes.

Messi, who played for 17 years at Barcelona before signing for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 and Inter Miami in 2023, will turn 37 in under three months but knows for sure that his age will not determine when it is time to hang up his boots.

“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),” he told the Big Time podcast in an interview published on March 27.

“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.”

Asked whether he has started to think about what he will do next, the record eight-time Ballon d’Or winner had no straight answer.

“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,” Messi 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 fulfils me and what I like, and a new role.”

Messi missed Argentina’s friendlies against El Salvador and Costa Rica in the United States in March due to a hamstring injury.

While retirement might not be on the horizon for Messi, Brazil striker Richarlison has admitted that he experienced depression and almost quit football after his country’s quarter-final loss to Croatia at the 2022 World Cup.

Richarlison, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur, said in September that he would seek psychological help after he was photographed crying on the bench when he was substituted during Brazil’s 5-1 thrashing of Bolivia in a 2026 World Cup qualifier.

The 26-year-old, capped 48 times by Brazil, has urged players to seek help for mental health issues.

“I’d just played in a World Cup, at my peak,” he told ESPN Brasil. “I was reaching my limit, you know? I don’t know, I’m not going to talk about killing myself, but I was in a depression there, and I wanted to give up.

“Even I, who seemed to be mentally strong. After the World Cup, it seemed like it all fell apart.”

He said going to therapy was the best decision he has made.

“I think the therapist, like it or not, saved me, saved my life. I only thought rubbish... If you need a psychologist, look for one because it’s nice for you to open up like that, for you to be talking to the person,” Richarlison added. – REUTERS


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