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Lionel Messi admits this will ‘surely be his last Copa America’

The 37-year-old doesn't think he will be playing at the next Copa in four years' time

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi scored as Argentina beat Canada 2-0 to advance to the final in what he admitted will “surely be his last Copa America”.

The Inter Miami star doubled Argentina’s advantage in the second half following Julian Alvarez’s opener in New Jersey as Lionel Scaloni’s men repeated their group stage win over Canada to set up a meeting with either Uruguay or Colombia on Sunday.

Despite being 37 years old, Messi has offered little indication as to when he might retire but the former Barcelona star did concede it was unlikely he would play in the continental competition again with the next edition scheduled for 2028.

He said: “We enjoy what we are living as a squad, as a group. It is not easy that we are in a final again and we are about to compete again with the possibility of being champions.

“A lot of importance is given to the previous finals that me and the ‘old guard’ have played. These are the last battles we will have with [Angel] Di Maria and [Nicolas] Otamendi. Surely this is my last Copa.”

What would Messi tell the Leo of 2007?

Messi is just the second player to have scored in six Copas (2007, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 2024) after Brazilian Zizinho.

He added: “From the first day to the last, everyone wants to beat the champion and that makes it more difficult.

“It’s been a long, hard journey. Because I always wanted to win, I punished myself too much if we didn’t achieve the goals. I would tell the Leo of 2007 to enjoy the road, to enjoy everything.”

World champions Argentina required a penalty shootout to reach the last four, edging out Ecuador, and Messi admitted it has not been an easy tournament.

“To be honest it has been difficult,” he said. “The level has been as equal as ever, very bad surfaces, high temperatures that make it hard to play, very tough rivals. 

“So the fact we made it and we are here again playing a final is something to enjoy and highlight.”

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.