• Lionel Messi helped Argentina to glory at last year’s World Cup in Qatar  
  • The Argentinian made the move to the USA, a co-host of the 2026 World Cup 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off!

Lionel Messi didn’t entirely rule out playing in the 2026 World Cup in North America, claiming his involvement will depend in his fitness. 

Messi, 36, who made the move to the USA, the host of the next World Cup, in summer to join Inter Miami, helped Argentina clinch the prestigious title in Qatar last year.

However, despite Argentinian hopes the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will still be steering the ship come 2026, Messi has previously cooled expectations he’ll play in the next edition of the tournament. 

Yet, Messi didn’t entirely rule out the possibility as he pledged himself to captaining the Albicleste at the Copa America

‘I’ve already said,’ Messi told Argentinian comedian Migue Granados on OLGA. ‘It still seems a long way away. Yes, my goal is to play in the Copa America, which is also here in the United States and next year. After, we’ll see. 

Lionel Messi didn't entirely rule out playing in the 2026 World Cup in North America

Lionel Messi didn’t entirely rule out playing in the 2026 World Cup in North America

Messi, 36, who made the move to the USA, to join MLS side Inter Miami this summer

Messi, 36, who made the move to the USA, to join MLS side Inter Miami this summer

‘It principally depends on how I’m feeling. We’ll have to see about the league here, the level competition. I don’t know.’ 

The response was slightly more optimistic than previous. In June, he insisted that he wouldn’t be at the next World Cup. 

According to Efe News Agency, when asked about playing in the next edition, Messi said: ‘I think not. [Qatar] was my last World Cup.

‘I’ll see how things go, but as it is right now, no, I won’t go to the next World Cup.’

Messi provided seven goal and three assists as Argentina clinched the third World Cup title in their history.

Many have suggested that their success in December last year could effect the Ballon d’Or voting later this year – with Messi tipped to claim the title.

The 2026 World Cup will be held across America, Canada and Mexico – so wouldn’t be far from home for the Argentina legend.

Many believe the World Cup =could influence the Ballon d'Or voting - with Messi tipped to win

Many believe the World Cup =could influence the Ballon d’Or voting – with Messi tipped to win

He and his young family made the move to South Florida in July as he joined the Herons. 

And they appear set to stay as Messi, who signed a two-and-a-half-year deal worth $50-60m a season – recently bought a sprawling new $10.75million estate in Fort Lauderdale which features 10 bedrooms, a spa room, two boat docks and a swimming pool. 

He already owned a luxury $9m apartment in Miami – and now has two other condos in Sunny Isles Beach, according to reports – but had recently been spotted house hunting with Antonela and Thiago in the Boca Raton area.

But Messi signed off on a new 10,500 square-foot property within the gated community at Bay Colony, one of the floating neighborhoods north of Fort Lauderdale last week. 



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