Why did Lionel Messi retire from Argentina duty and then come back? How many goals has he scored for La Albiceleste and has he won the World Cup?

Lionel Messi is taking part in his fifth World Cup this year as he leads Argentina into the tournament in Qatar. 

Messi has now confirmed that the 2022 World Cup will be his last, with his eyes set on achieving what he has not done before.

Messi will be aiming to win the World Cup for the first time

Getty

Messi will be aiming to win the World Cup for the first time

The Argentine icon has had an up-and-down international career, retiring in 2016 before returning soon after.

He will be aiming to win the World Cup for the first time with his country in Qatar this winter.

Why did Messi retire and come back?

In 2016, Argentina were beaten on penalties by Chile in the final of the Copa America in a result that left Messi devastated. 

The icon missed a spot-kick in the shootout and after the game, he seemed to retire from international football. 

He said: “In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again.” 

Messi was distraught after the Copa America defeat

GETTY

Messi was distraught after the Copa America defeat

However, only a couple of months later, Messi announced that he would be returning to play for Argentina, saying he loved playing for his country ‘too much’. 

“Many things went through my head the day of the last final and I seriously thought of leaving, but I love this country and this shirt too much,” he said.  

“I’m grateful to all the people who wanted me to continue playing with Argentina, hopefully, we can give them something to cheer about soon.”


How many goals has he scored for Argentina?

Messi has scored 90 goals in 164 appearances for Argentina. Six of these have come in the World Cup. 

He is the country’s record scorer and his superb tally has him third in the all-time international goalscoring charts. 

Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Iran legend Ali Daei have scored more for their national teams, with Ronaldo netting 117 goals in 191 games for Portugal. 

Messi is Argentina’s all-time record goalscorer

GETTY

Messi is Argentina’s all-time record goalscorer

Has Messi ever won the World Cup?

Messi has won 41 titles throughout his iconic career but he has never won the World Cup. 

He has taken part in four tournaments so far, appearing in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018. 

However, the Argentina captain has never been able to go all the way and lift football’s biggest prize. 

He went closest in 2014 but La Albiceleste were beaten 1-0 in the final by Germany thanks to Mario Gotze’s extra-time winner. 

Could he win his first World Cup in his final appearance this year? 

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