'The door will always be open' – Scaloni backs Messi for 2026 World Cup

Getty Images

Lionel Scaloni has told Lionel Messi "the door will always be open" for the Argentina captain to play in the 2026 World Cup.

Messi last month got his hands on the trophy he so desperately wanted, lifting the World Cup in Qatar following a victory over France in a thrilling final.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward scored twice in a 3-3 draw to take his tally for the tournament to seven and was also on target in a penalty shootout as Argentina dethroned Les Bleus.

Messi, 35, also became the first man to win two Golden Balls as he inspired his team in what he said would be his last World Cup.

The mercurial Messi will be nearing 40 when Argentina look to defend their title in a tournament that will be staged in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026, but head coach Scaloni has not given up hope of being able to call upon the forward.

"I think Messi can get to the next World Cup," he told Radio Calvia. "It will depend a lot on what he wants, on whether he feels good.

"The door will always be open. He is happy on the pitch and it would be very nice for us."

Scaloni does not think Argentina's World Cup success was essential to secure Messi's place among the best players of all time.

"I don't think it was necessary to be one of the greatest or the greatest. You always ask for more. I don't know what else you are going to ask for now," he continued.

"I am happy for him and for the country. For the joy we gave him and we gave ourselves. The days we spent in Argentina were full of euphoria and affection. It was worth it."

Speculation has continued over Scaloni's future despite the 44-year-old becoming just the third boss to win both the World Cup and Copa America, after Mario Zagallo and Carlos Alberto Parreira achieved that feat for Brazil.

Argentinian Football Association president Claudio Tapia rubbished talk that Scaloni may not stay on and the head coach stated: "Today I am happy where I am."