After leading his team to the Copa America final, missing the first penalty for Argentina and having lost to Chile in penalty kicks for the second consecutive year, Lionel Messi has decided to retire from the Argentine national team.
“It’s over. My time with the national team is done. We’ve been to four finals and it’s not for me. I wanted it, it’s what I most desired, but it didn’t happen for me,” Messi told the media after the Copa America final.
SOMEONE, ANYONE, JUST HUG MESSI AND TELL HIM NOT TO RETIRE. https://t.co/dU08gu36op
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) 27 de junho de 2016
Argentina has reached the finals of four international competitions with Lionel Messi, three Copa Americas in 2007, 2015 and Copa America Centenario that just concluded as well as the World Cup final in Brazil in 2014. After the losing the Copa America Centenario, Messi looked inconsolable and was seen crying as Chile celebrated their victory in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Although one can understand Messi’s frustration of going to four finals and losing them all, the news of his retirement comes as a shock to the footballing world. This man is seen as the world’s greatest player ever to grace a soccer pitch. He has multiple Balon d’Ors, is Argentina’s all-time leading scorer and has basically won all there is to win at the club level.
But his inability to win the big trophies at the international level really must be a source of exasperation to the Argentine, as he has decided that if he can’t win after four attempts in 11 years in international finals, that that’s it.
Just like that, the legacy that we thought was going to continue on for a bit longer — as Messi is only 29 years of age — has died in the Copa America Centenario.
We can only hope that he spoke out of frustration, as the international footballing world will have a diminutive, but at the same time enormous, Messi-shaped hole that will be impossible to fill.