Messi all set for his final bid at World Cup glorytext_fields
Doha: Amid the fear surrounding his physical fitness, Lionel Messi the Argentinian football legend declared himself ready for the team's opener in 2022 FIFA World Cup against Saudi Arabia.
"I feel very good physically, the truth is that I think I'll enter the tournament in great shape, personally as well as physically," Messi told a news conference on Monday, reports Xinhua.
The Paris Saint-Germaine forward had raised concerns in the Argentine press after he was seen training separately from the rest of Argentina's squad last week.
"I don't have any problem, I heard that they said that I trained differently because I suffered a knock. But it's nothing unusual. The timing (of the World Cup) is different. It's at the other end of the year and our physical condition is different," he said.
"Normally we have a month to prepare for the World Cup. This time there hasn't been time for that and we have to play our first match very quickly. We knew it was going to be like this. We go into the tournament feeling good. We're prepared and the feeling that exists is always special."
The super star footballer also confirmed that this will be his final shot at the World Cup.
"I took care of myself and worked like I have my whole career. It will probably be my last World Cup, my last chance to achieve the big dream I have," he said.
Lionel Scaloni's men are undefeated in their past 35 games, a sequence that includes the 2021 Copa America final against Brazil. They are just two games shy of the record for the longest run of international matches without defeat, currently held by Italy.
Messi will be playing in his fifth World Cup, having appeared on football's biggest stage for the first time at the 2006 tournament in Germany.
The closest he has come to lifting the Jules Rimet trophy was in 2014 when Argentina lost the final against Germany following an extra-time goal from Mario Goetze.
Messi said he appreciated the support of fans from other countries, many of whom have adopted Argentina as their favorite team in the hope the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner can write a glorious final chapter to his glittering career.