Victorious Argentina coach, Lionel Scaloni, said Sunday it was up to Lionel Messi to decide whether he wants to play at another World Cup.
Scaloni also praised his players for “breaking their backs” to beat France in the final.
In a match for the ages, Argentina triumphed 4-2 in a penalty shootout after Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick ensured the game ended level at 3-3 following extra time.
Messi, 35, scored twice in the match to win the first World Cup of his glittering career.
Earlier in the tournament he said this World Cup would be his last but Scaloni said the ball was in the veteran forward’s court.
“If he wants to keep playing, he will be with us,” Scaloni told his post-match press conference.
“He is more than entitled to decide whether he wants to keep playing for Argentina or not or what he wants to do with his career.
“He is such a huge player for us. It is such a pleasure for us to coach him and his teammates. Everything he transmits to his teammates is unparalleled — something I’ve never seen before.”
Messi said after the final that he wanted to continue playing for Argentina.
Scaloni, who led Argentina to the Copa America crown last year, praised his men for digging deep against defending champions France at the Lusail Stadium.
“We have fighters who were very strong despite the goals that we conceded,” he said.
“These players play for their people, play for Argentina fans — that’s what I have always seen,” he added.
“There are no rivalries. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and this is for the whole country. It is the greatest pride to play for your own country.
“The players broke their backs. They have achieved this today because they understand what they had to do on the pitch and we are happy and proud.”