Lionel Messi is set to retire from international football after missing his shot in a penalty shootout which saw Argentina lose a fourth major final in nine years.
The 29 year old footballer who did not hold back in sharing his disappointment for the loss to Chile at the Copa America, said that the international football scene is not for him;
“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”.
His only major international honor is the 2008 Olympic gold, whereas he has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Barcelona.
He referred to the four finals that Argentina had lost – losing against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final, the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 defeat by Germany and two Copa America final defeats by Chile on penalties. Messi said;
“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.”
He also admitted that the decision was not an easy one to make;
“It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.”
Messi who made his debut for Argentina in 2005 and has made 113 appearance, had scored five times at the tournament, including a superb free-kick in the semi-final against hosts the USA to become his country’s record scorer with 55 goals.
The news that Lionel Messi is retiring is undoubtedly a great blow. The announcement generated comments from Argentina and Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero who said he hoped Messi would reflect on his decision and reconsider, adding:
I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful opportunity escaped us. I can’t imagine a national team without Messi.