Lionel Messi has said he will reconsider his footballing future later this year but said it was likely “a lot will change” after the World Cup in November and December in Qatar.
Messi’s comments came after Argentina beat Venezuela 3-0 on Friday in the remaining game of the penultimate round of South American World Cup qualifiers.
“I don’t know what I’ll do after the World Cup. I’m thinking about what’s to come,” Messi said. “After Qatar, I will have to re-evaluate a lot of things.”
He added that his doubts had nothing to do with past frustration of playing for Argentina. He won his first title with the team last year, the Copa America in a final against Brazil.
“I’ve been happy here for a while, since before I won the Copa. I’m grateful for everything they make me feel every time I come to Argentina,” Messi said.
Asked about his pursuit with the national team after Qatar, Messi, who turns 35 in June, said: “I don’t know, the truth is I don’t know. I think about what happens, what is close, Ecuador (Tuesday) The preparation matches in June and September.
“Let’s hope it happens in the best possible way. But for sure after the World Cup a lot of things will change.”
Messi, who was recently booed by Paris Saint-Germain fans, looked delighted after scoring the game’s third goal on Friday and receiving enthusiastic support from spectators at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires.
Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay have already secured the region’s four direct spots in Qatar later this year. Peru (21 points), Colombia (20) and Chile (19) will play the final round on Tuesday for fifth place, which qualifies for an international match with an Asian team.
Argentina opened the scoring with Nico Gonzalez from close range in the 35th minute after a low cross from Rodrigo de Paul. Angel di Maria, another player under fire from critics in France, scored the second in the 79th minute, lobbing the Venezuelan keeper after an assist from De Paul.
Both Messi and Brazil star Neymar faced criticism in France after their club lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.