Lionel Messi insists he has not yet given up on the dream of winning the World Cup despite the “terrible” defeat in the 2014 final.
The Barcelona star was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player at the tournament in Brazil five years ago after inspiring his side to the final, where they faced Germany.
However, the main prize eluded Messi and Argentina at the Maracana, as Mario Gotze’s extra-time strike secured a 1-0 win for Joachim Low’s side.
Argentina were again beaten by the eventual winners four years later, with France knocking them out 4-3 at the last-16 stage en route to winning the 2018 tournament in Russia.
But Messi is not discounting the idea of getting his hands on international football’s top prize, even though he will be 35 by the time the 2022 finals get underway in Qatar.
“God will say if we look at it or not,” he told TyC Sports when asked about his hopes of lifting the World Cup trophy. “It would be the ultimate. It’s the biggest dream I have yet to fulfil.
“Being so close to that World Cup [in 2014] was terrible, because we deserved to be able to lift it.
“It was the ultimate moment for that generation. We had an impressive group. It’s getting tougher; nobody gives you anything and not conceding goals is so important.”
Messi says his sons Thiago, six, and Mateo, three, are now old enough to watch him play for Argentina or Barca.
However, it seems Mateo has been happy to tease his father about defeats to Liverpool and Valencia in the Champions League and Copa del Rey in the past month – and even show support for Real Madrid.
“Thiago never misses a match,” he said. “Mateo loves football, he wears all the shirts.
“We were playing at home and he said to me, ‘I’m Liverpool, who beat you’; ‘Valencia won, eh – I’m Valencia’.
“The TV is there, and he cheers Madrid’s goals to annoy his brother. He’s the one who is a Madrid fan.”
Messi admits it is becoming increasingly difficult to leave his young family to join up with the national team, adding: “It’s hard to leave them, more and more so. The call-ups are more difficult for me every time. I suffer being so far away from them.”
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