Lionel Messi turns 35 on Friday, which brings him closer to his inevitable retirement ahead of a season wherein he is facing some enormous challenges with Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina.
The former Barcelona captain will celebrate his birthday in Ibiza, where he enjoys a family vacation, which will end soon, as PSG face Nantes on July 31 of the Trophee des Champions.
PSG will play their first friendly match on July 20. It will be part of their pre-season tour of Japan, where they will face three local teams in five days’ time.
Given that Messi signed a two-year contract last summer, this could be PSG’s last chance to claim the Champions League title with the Argentine star in their squad.
However, Messi’s most important challenge next season will be nothing more than winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and Argentina.
The Argentine midfielder will appear in top form in November, as well as in March, in his bid to qualify for the World Cup and Champions League qualifiers respectively.
His fifth World Cup could be his as many expect Messi to resign from the national team after this year’s tournament.
The next set will take place in 2026 when Messi will be 39 years old, but no player has ever played in six World Cups.
His first participation came back in 2006 when Argentina was ousted by Germany. Messi’s side reached the finals in 2014 but lost to the Germans in Brazil.
The PSG striker has signed 19 World Cup games and hopes to break Lothar Matthaus (25).
After winning the Copa America in Brazil and Finalissima against Italy at Wembley, Messi wants to lead Argentina to the World Cup for the first time in his career.
Meanwhile, he still has a few more challenges left, such as being the top scorer in the World Cup, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer in the Champions League and winning the European Cup with PSG.