Messi can play until he's 39 – Xavi


FC Barcelona legend Xavi has dismissed suggestions that Lionel Messi will retire any time soon, and hinted that the six-time Ballon d'Or winner still has unfinished business at the FIFA World Cup.

Messi turns 33 next month and is rumoured to be considering hanging up his boots in the next few years, with a possible return to his native Argentina said to be on the cards.

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Xavi, who spent more than a decade alongside the legendary forward at Barca, has shrugged off such talk, however, seemingly suggesting that Messi is still be motivated to win the one piece of silverware that eludes him: the World Cup trophy.

"He's still got five or seven very good years left in him," Xavi told ex-Blaugrana forward Samuel Eto'o during an Instagram Live video, per the Daily Express.

"He takes good care of himself and he can keep playing until he's 37, 38 or 39. He'll play at the Qatar World Cup [in 2022], I'm sure."

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Messi will be 35 by the time the 2022 FIFA World Cup comes around and, if he continues to play until the age of 39 as Xavi suggests, could also feature at the 2026 edition of the showpiece, which is set to take place in three countries across North America.