No going back for Messi
Messi retires from international football after Copa heartbreak
S peaking in the aftermath of a devastating Copa America final defeat to Chile, an emotional Lionel Messi declared he would retire from international football.
Having missed from the spot in the shootout as Chile triumphed 4-2 on penalties, the Barcelona superstar shocked everyone by stating his intention to quit the Argentine national team.
“The national team is over for me,” Messi told the Argentine network TyC Sports. “It’s been four finals, it’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.”
In 2007 Messi tasted defeat in the final of the Copa as Argentina lost 3-0 to Brazil. Then in 2014 there was further disappointment as Germany triumphed in extra-time in the World Cup final, as well as defeats to Chile two years running in Copa finals.
“On top of everything, I missed the penalty kick,” said Messi. “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.
“That’s it, I’ve already tried enough. It pains me more than anyone not being able to be a champion with Argentina, but that’s the way it is. It wasn’t meant to be, and unfortunately I leave without having achieved it.” Of course, Messi could yet change his mind, having made the announcement in the heat of the moment, just minutes after the defeat to Chile. “I think Messi spoke in the heat of the moment because such a great opportunity escaped us,” said Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero. However, Sergio Aguero revealed the devastation amongst the squad and suggested that there could be more players giving serious consideration to their international futures. With some reports in Argentina suggesting that Aguero, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria could also retire.
“There are several players who are evaluating not continuing with the national team,” said Aguero. “This is the worst locker room I’ve ever been in, worse than the final in the World Cup and the other Copa America.”
Earlier in the tournament Messi had become Argentina’s all-time top scorer with 55 goals but has failed to help his country triumph in a major final.
A fact that has always gone against the striker when comparisons with Diego Maradona are made.
Now it seems Argentina will have to cope without Messi, and possibly others, as they attempt to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.