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‘Animal’ Messi will play in 2022 World Cup, says Xavi

Lionel Messi
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Lionel Messi is a ‘competitive beast’ with the physicality of an animal and will play in the 2022 World Cup, says Xavi.

Failing to win any major silverware for Argentina has dogged Messi throughout his international career.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had enjoyed success at youth level for La Albiceleste, winning the U-20 World Cup in 2005 and the 2008 Summer Olympics.

In the biggest competitions, though, Messi has suffered his fair share of heartache. Not only did he lose the 2014 World Cup final, but three Copa America finals.

Despite turning 33 in June, however, Messi remains a formidable footballer. His stats alone this season justify it, with the forward managing 25 goals and 21 assists in La Liga.

So while he’ll be 35 at the time of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Xavi sees no reason to suggest Argentina won’t be able to call on their captain for one last attempt at glory.

The World Cup winner, who played alongside Messi between 2004 and 2015, has first-hand knowledge of his old teammate’s talents and knows better than to underestimate them.

“I see Leo playing until he wants to,” Xavi told Marca.

“On a physical level, he is fast, strong, he is a competitive beast, physically an animal.

“I have no doubt that he will play in Qatar 2022.”

Messi has managed a record 70 goals and 48 assists in 138 appearances for the Argentina national team.