Lionel Messi discusses career plans after retiring from playing
Lionel Messi has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be his final appearance in the competition at 35 years of age, but he has no clear plans about his post-playing career.
Messi has never won the World Cup during his career, going closest in 2014 when Argentina reached the final and lost in extra-time against Germany. But he finally ended his international trophy drought in 2021 when La Albiceleste triumphed in the Copa America.
Speaking to journalist Sebastian Vignolo, the PSG star insisted Qatar would 'surely' be his final international tournament before outlining tentative possibilities once he eventually hangs up those storied boots for good.
"I'm counting down the days until the World Cup," he said. "The truth is, there's a little anxiety, saying: 'Well, we're here, what's going to happen? It's my last one, how's it going to go?'. On one hand, I can't wait for it to arrive but I'm also desperate for it to go well."
Perhaps the most surprising admission is that the former Barcelona player has no interest in taking up coaching once his playing days are finished - instead stating that he finds the idea of running a team behind the scenes more appealing.
“I don’t really intend to be a coach," Messi said. "But Zidane said exactly that and after that, he became a coach and won the Champions League three times. I would like to be the sporting director of a club, to build a team, to accompany the coaches, but I’m not sure about that."
Currently with PSG, Messi has been heavily linked with a return to former club Barcelona. One of the options could see him take an off-field role at Camp Nou in time, although the Catalans are looking for ways to re-sign him on a playing contract.
Discussing his legacy, Messi also explained that he never set out to become the best player in history.
"I think I’m just another player," he modestly said. "On the pitch, we are all the same and when the game starts I always try to improve myself. My intention is that when I retire, I will be remembered for being a good person, not as a good player."