Lionel Messi is enjoying a well-deserved family holiday following his rocky first season at Paris Saint-Germain and second trophy with Argentina – but he isn’t risking getting rusty with his football skills.
The 34-year-old has been filmed having a kick-about with his two sons, Thiago and Mateo, and cheekily nutmegged the latter in a cute video. Believed to be holidaying alongside good friend and former Barcelona teammate Cesc Fabregas in Ibiza, Messi didn’t miss the opportunity to mess with his youngest son, sneakily popping the ball through Mateo’s legs after the trio could no longer keep it in the air.
The six-year-old was left stranded while nine-year-old brother Thiago was on the deck, as their father coolly walked away like it was any other humiliation of a helpless opposition player. Messi’s wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, who he married in 2017, filmed the adorable footage and posted it on her Instagram account.
Following their first year in Paris, the family are relaxing ahead of what’s set to be another huge campaign in the seven-time Ballon d’Or winners’ career. While PSG will hope to mount a serious challenge for the Champions League, Messi will embark on what’s expected to be his final World Cup with Argentina, who are among the favourites to win the tournament in Qatar.
The Albiceleste face Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia in Group C, kicking off their run against the latter on Tuesday, November 22. Tipped to announce his retirement from international football once Argentina fly home from the Middle East, the icon is confident that Lionel Scaloni ‘s side can compete for the grand prize, having won both the Copa America by beating Brazil and the inaugural Finalissima against Italy in the past 12 months.
“Argentina can compete with anyone,” Messi stated earlier this month. “I am not saying that we are the big favourite to lift the World Cup, but we are ready. The memory of the Copa America is beautiful after so much suffering, but now there is another challenge on the horizon. I feel comfortable when we get together with the national team, everything flows. We all know what our role is and what we have to do.
“Is it my last World Cup? At the moment I am thinking about this one – later we will see. Football changes from one day to the next. I think it would be difficult for me to play the next one, but I have not made a clear decision. Sometimes they kill me because they complain I do not run a lot. I do not know what I will be like at 38 years of age.”
Join the debate! Will Argentina win the World Cup? Give us your prediction in the comments section.
His teammates are backing him, too, as new Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez told El Pais, via Goal : “It would be very nice if it could be achieved for all Argentines and because I think that football owes it to Messi for everything he means for football worldwide. I don’t know if we are candidates but we are here to fight anyone.”
Meanwhile, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez reckons that the Albiceleste will ‘fight like lions’ for their captain. “A year ago we were nothing and today we are (World Cup) candidates because we won titles,” Martinez explained. “We will always be candidates because we have the best in the world (in Messi). We are all lions who fight for him!”