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Lionel Scaloni, the victorious Argentina coach, said on Sunday that it was up to Lionel Messi to decide whether he wanted to play in another World Cup.

Scaloni also lauded his team for “breaking their backs” in defeating France in the final.

Argentina won 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a hat-trick by Kylian Mbappe tied the game at 3-3 after extra time.

Messi, 35, scored twice in the game to claim his first World Cup victory.

Earlier in the tournament, he stated that this would be his final World Cup, but Scaloni stated that 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.”

After the final, Messi stated that he wanted to continue playing for Argentina.

Scaloni, who led Argentina to the Copa America title last year, praised his players for going the distance 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.”

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