Lionel Messi has admitted that he doesn't know how many years he has left in the game, nearly 14 years after his debut for Barcelona's first team.
The Barcelona star admitted in an interview to the RFEF magazine (via Mundo Deportivo) that he is aware that the day will come when he must hang up his boots - but insisted that he would do his best to push that day back for as long as possible.
"How many years do I have left?" the Argentina international asked. "That is the most complicated question! I do not know either! Hopefully a few more. The desire I feel continues to grow every day, and I still have many challenges that I would like to achieve collectively, more trophies, more goals...
"Right now I feel very good, but I do not know when I will leave football; maybe it's a bit hasty to start thinking about that, although I'm also aware that that day will come."
Messi's importance to Barcelona's play was exemplified last weekend when he came off the bench to drag the Catalans to a last-gasp 2-2 draw against Sevilla despite carrying an injury.
However, he insisted: "I consider myself just one more player. In the end, each player is different and has their own characteristics. It also motivates me to face other great players. It's about competing in a sporting way and always learning from each match and each opponent."
Despite Barcelona's sizeable lead and as yet unbeaten season in La Liga, Messi insisted that the league is more than just a two-horse race between Ernesto Valverde's side and Real Madrid, saying: "I do not think the Santander League is the domain of two or three teams.
"It is obvious that both we and Real Madrid are usually competing for it every year, but we have seen Atletico also win it a few seasons ago and every year there are several teams that are up fighting for the championship and for getting into Europe."