Lionel Messi has retired from international duty after missing in a penalty shootout as Argentina lost a fourth major final in nine years.
“For me, the national team is over,” he said after defeat by Chile in the Copa America final. “I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.”
“It’s been four finals, I tried,” added Messi, who made his debut for Argentina in 2005 and has played 113 times for his country. “It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over”.
Messi has yet to pick up a winners’ medal at senior international level, only managing an Olympic men’s football gold medal in 2008 to go with the FIFA world youth championship title he picked up in 2005.
He was very disappointed by his performance and he doesn’t want his team to lose any other match, so, he decided to quit the game at International Level. He was emotional for his decision as he was wanted to be a Champion with Argentina.
“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”.
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said: “The burden of the consecutive games has been accumulating these last two years. He feels like you would expect a player to feel after playing and losing a final.
Messi had enjoyed another impressive outing in the latest final of his international career but failed to find a finishing touch over 120 minutes of play. Still, few would have expected him to miss from 12 yards after Chile’s Arturo Vidal had seen the first kick of the shootout saved by Sergio Romero. But the Barcelona forward conspired to balloon the ball over the bar and pass up the chance to give his side an early advantage.
Messi now stands to miss the 2018 World Cup, with the odds of Argentina breaking their long-standing major trophy drought in Russia just having lengthened significantly.