Arguably the best player in the world has retired from international football. Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has decided to hang his boots from international football following Argentina’s heartbreaking loss to defending champion’s Chile in the Copa America Centenario final in front of 82,026 fans at MetLife Stadium.
Argentina lost the final 4:2 on penalties. After both sides failed to score in normal time and extra-time, the match headed to a penalty shootout. Messi stepped up to take Argentina’s first penalty but the man with a magical left foot sent the ball woefully over the bar.
After the game, a visibly distraught Messi later talking to reports made the announcement which took everyone by surprise. He said: “For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion. I’m taking this decision for me and for the many people who want this. I’ve tried so hard, but I’m leaving without managing it.”
While Messi has picked up all possible trophies at both the club level and individual level including five Ballon d’Or awards, a feat no one has ever accomplished. However, he has been unable to replicate the same level of success at the international stage. Argentina, ironically, has not won a single major tournament with Messi in the team although he is the all time goal scorer for his country with 55 goals, a feat he achieved in this tournament.
He came agonizingly close in the previous Copa America but was outdone by the same opponent in the final. In 2014 world cup, his team was ousted in the semi-finals by the eventual winners Germany.
All throughout the tournament Messi was in scintillating form. After missing Argentina’s first game, he scored a 19-minute free kick against Panama and in the semi-final win over host USA his spectacular free kick was a glimpse of his brilliance. Messi was well marshaled by the opposing defense throughout the game and maybe that frustration got to him in the end.