Lionel Messi fans may never want to think of the possibility, but it seems that the player is closer to retirement than it may seem. After a challenging season with PSG, the Argentine is back with his national team, where he admitted that big changes may take place after the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Messi's international career is expected to end after the World Cup which is scheduled to take place at the end of the year. It's a long way from now, but last night's 3-0 victory in the qualifiers against Venezuela is already being seen as his final match on home soil.

A packed "Bombonera" stadium witnessed a Messi masterclass once more, as he scored a late 82nd minute goal to cap off earlier strikes from Angel Di Maria and Nicolas Gonzalez. The appreciative crowd knew that it was going to be the farewell party for their captain, whose international career was a complete rollercoaster.

After facing a lot of criticism for failing to match his Barcelona form on an international level, Messi's fate flipped in the past year. His club career with PSG has been disappointing, but he finally won the Copa America with Argentina last summer and is in good shape leading up to the World Cup.

However, with things not going as planned in Paris, Messi hinted that he may make major changes or hang up his boots altogether at the end of next season. This is a decision that he will have to think about after Qatar. "I can only think about what's coming next, I only think about facing Ecuador. After the World Cup, I will have to rethink many things," he said, as quoted by Marca.

Last week, reports emerged that Messi and his father are already looking for a way to return to Barcelona from Paris. This seems unlikely to happen, with Barcelona's financial problem's and his existing contract with PSG. It has already been established that his national team side has become his priority in the past year, so it remains to be seen how keen PSG will be to extend his contract beyond 2023.

If not, the MLS will surely come knocking, and it remains to be seen if he will choose to play or return to Barcelona on an administrative position.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi's first season at PSG has not turned out as planned AFP / Alain JOCARD