After losing the Copa América final to Chile, Lionel Messi declared that his International football career is over.
During the Argentina vs Chile match, Messi, who was the captain of his home team, missed the decisive penalty shootout. This led Chile to claim victory over their opponents, ending the match by scoring 4 goals to 2.
This is the 2nd time in a row that Chile has won the Copa accolade, making them ecstatic. After the match, Messi expressed his feelings of despair. He said:
“It’s tough, it’s not the time for analysis. In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important.”
“I tried so hard to be [a] champion with Argentina. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision. I tried many times [to be a champion] but did not.”
His teammate, Sergio Agüero told Olé that he might end up exiting the national team as well. He stated: “The likelihood is that Messi is not the only one that will leave the national team. There are several players like me that are evaluating whether or not to continue.”
Agüero continued: “One doesn’t want to think about it but at times, there are things that happen and the thought [of retiring] comes into your mind. Afterwards, it’s difficult to get it out. Unfortunately, the one that leaves most affected is Leo Messi after his penalty miss. This is the worst that I’ve seen him in the changing room. We are all affected and we will try to think about something else and move forward. Again, luck was not on our side.”
Messi’s decision comes after the Argentinian team has had a 23-year long winless streak. The team ended up facing disappointment in the finals of World Cup 2014 against Germany and at three Copa Américas, in 2007, 2015 and 2016.
The team’s coach, Gerardo Martino said: “The burden of the consecutive games [lost] has been accumulating these last two years. He feels like you would expect a player to feel after playing and losing a final.”
Although the legendary star was impressive throughout the course of the match, but he failed to pull off the most-wanted kick, which cost the team.
In his 11 year career with the Argentina side, Messi has scored a total of 55 times transcending Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 54 goals for his team. Honoring the star-player, Juan Antonio Pizzi, the Chilean coach said:
“Messi’s numbers are unparalleled and I think they’ll remain that way forever because it’s impossible for a football player to do what Messi has done. My generation can’t compare him to [Diego] Maradona that’s for my generation, because of what Maradona did for Argentine soccer. But I think the best player ever played today here in the United States.”
Messi’s decision to leave the team has devastated many fellow players as well as fans. But we will surely get to enjoy his world-class performance as a Barcelona man.