As he gets ready for what is probably going to be his final World Cup, Lionel Messi claims to be at a “wonderful moment.”
The 35-year-old is representing Argentina in his fifth international competition. On Tuesday at 10 a.m. GMT, Saudi Arabia will be Argentina’s opponent in the tournament opener.
The 2014 World Cup final loss by Argentina was the closest the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has ever come to winning the tournament.
Messi said: “This is probably my last World Cup, my last chance to achieve this great dream that I have.”
Despite the competition taking place in the middle of the club season, the Paris St. Germain forward claims he hasn’t undertaken any extra physical preparations and feels fit and prepared.
“I feel very good physically, I think I’m in a great moment, both personally and physically and I don’t have any problems,” added Messi, who did light training away from his team-mates on Saturday.
“I heard that they said I trained differently. It was because I had a knock but there is nothing strange [happening]. It was just a precaution.”
Messi, who has won numerous club championships with Barcelona and PSG, just won his first international title last year when Argentina won the Copa America by defeating Brazil in the championship game.
“It’s a beautiful thing that many people outside Argentina want us to be champions and that it’s largely because of me,” said Messi.
“I’m grateful for the love I’ve received around the world during my career, and here in Qatar it’s another example of that.
“I don’t know if we arrive better than at other World Cups, but we’ve just won [the Copa America] and that decompresses us a lot.
“It makes us work in a different way, without anxiety about the national team and its results, and enjoying ourselves.”
Argentina will play Mexico and Poland in Group C in addition to Saudi Arabia.