Following last night’s Copa America final loss against Chile, Lionel Messi has announced his retirement from international football.
The forward bows out after missing a crucial penalty in the shootout, which saw Chile take the crown following a dire 120 minutes of football ending 0-0.
Despite winning everything possible with club side Barcelona, Messi has failed to find the same success at international level – only securing Olympic gold in Beijing back in 2008.
Having found himself in three finals in the last three years – World Cup 2014, Copa America 2015 & 2016 – the current Ballon d’Or holder and Argentina have suffered defeat in all three.
This seems to have hit him hard, with the Barca talisman stating after the game: “For me, the national team is over.”
“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.”
Whether or not this is a rash reaction to a bitter defeat in a final remains to be seen, but his teammates will surely hope so. None more so than Gonzalo Higuain, who has become the scapegoat for the three final losses and Messi’s retirement.
Being only 29, football fans across the globe will be hopeful that this will be temporary, but it looks very real at the moment of writing. Time will tell.
Messi bows out from the international stage as the country’s leading all-time goalscorer with 55 goals, having eclipsed Gabriel Batistuta’s 54.