After a third consecutive major final defeat, a distraught Lionel Messi has announced that he will retire from international soccer. The man many consider the best player in the history of the sport will no longer represent his country in competitive matches.
After the Copa America Centenario final defeat to Chile on penalties, the Argentina captain told reporters that he will call it quits on his time with the national team. “For me, the national team is over,” Messi said. “I’ve done all I can, I’ve been in four finals and it hurts not to be a champion. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over. It’s a hard moment for me and the team, and it’s difficult to say, but it’s over with the Argentina team… The decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.”
While many thought that Messi might have just said that in the heat of the moment, childhood friend Sergio Aguero’s comments after the loss reveal that this retirement declaration is likely genuine, “Unfortunately, the one that leaves most affected is Lionel 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.”
It makes sense that he would make this announcement, as Messi has constantly been berated and attacked by the Argentine fans and media and simply isn’t appreciated the way he should be. “They have to enjoy him, value him and understand him,” said Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. “This is a team work, when you win, everyone wins, and when you lose, everyone loses. Football is a team sport.”
Lionel Messi made his debut for Argentina back in 2005 and has made 113 appearances for the national team since, in which he has scored an incredible 55 goals, making him the top scorer ever for Argentina.
Though he may not have ever won a major tournament for his national team, Messi will still go down as the best to ever play the sport. His ability on the pitch has never been seen before and will likely never be replicated.