A sad Lionel Messi retires from international duty after missing in a penalty shootout as Argentina lost a fourth key final in nine years to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final.
“It’s not meant for me. For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said after defeat by Chile at the Copa America.
Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues for his Spanish club, Barcelona. However, he has not won too many titles in international matches. In fact, his only major international honour is 2008 Olympic gold.
Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final by Germany before two Copa America final defeats by Chile on penalties. Messi also lost against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.
“It’s been four finals, I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over,”
“I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, and then for everyone. I think there’s a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it. It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back”.
Speaking to the media, his country’s goal keeper, who also keeps for Manchester United, Sergio Romero, said he hoped the talented play will have a change of mind.
According to him:
“I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful opportunity escaped us. I can’t imagine a national team without Messi.”
Messi has been having slight issues with the officials at the Argentine Football Association, and he took his frustration to social media before the final, but his own performance in Sunday’s final also appear to be affecting him after the game.
“I feel a great sadness right now that this is happening again,” he said. “I missed my penalty, which was super important. That’s it.”
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero said the mood in Argentina’s dressing room was the “the worst I’ve ever been in”. He also said a good number of his teammates are considering to not to go on with the national team.
Messi had scored five times at the tournament, including a remarkable free-kick in the semi-final against hosts, the USA, making him Argentina’s record scorer with 55 goals.
On Sunday, the match between Argentina and Chile finished 0-0 in 120 minutes. later on Chile won 4-2 on penalties.
Messi was the first to play and it was Argentina’s first attempt in the shootout and it puffed out over the bar. This was after Romero had denied Chile’s Arturo Vidal.
Lucas Biglia also missed from 12 yards, with Chilean substitute Francisco Silva scoring the decisive spot-kick in the final in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It was the second time in countless years that Chile won Argentina on penalties in the Copa game.
The Copa America takes place every four years, but this was an extra tournament to mark the competition’s centenary.
Messi made his debut for Argentina in 2005, going on to make 113 appearances. He has scored 453 times in 531 games for Barca, including a La Liga record 312 goals. The star was also bestowed with Ballon d’Or award, winning the world’s best player five times.
In 2014 he was given the best player title at the World Cup, when president Sepp Blatter was still the Fifa president. The tricky-shooter said he was “a little bit surprised” but Argentina legend Diego Maradona said the decision was “unfair”.
Argentina’s next matches are in World Cup qualification ahead of the 2018 tournament in Russia.
The country has six games into their qualification campaign for the upcoming World Cup. They are currently the third in the table, two points behind leaders Uruguay.