Lionel Messi: Argentina forward retires from
Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international duty
after missing in a penalty shootout as Argentina lost a fourth
major final in nine years.
“It’s not meant for me. For me the national team is over. I’ve done
all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said after
defeat by Chile at the Copa America.
With Barcelona, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four
But his only major international honour is 2008 Olympic gold.
Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final by Germany
before two Copa America final defeats by Chile on penalties. Messi
was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa
“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,” he added.
“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.
“It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more
and there will be no going back.”
Messi had scored five times at the tournament, including a superb
free-kick in the semi-final against hosts the USA to become his
country’s record scorer with 55 goals.
Argentina and Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero said
he hoped Messi would “reflect” on his decision and reconsider,
adding: “I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful
opportunity escaped us. I can’t imagine a national team without
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero described the mood in the
Argentina dressing room as “the worst I’ve ever been in”, and was
quoted by South American media as saying: “There are several
players who are evaluating not continuing with the national team.”
After Sunday’s match finished 0-0 in 120 minutes, Chile won 4-2 on
Messi’s miss was Argentina’s first attempt in the shootout and it
ballooned over the bar after Romero had denied Chile’s Arturo
Lucas Biglia also missed from 12 yards, with Chilean substitute
Francisco Silva scoring the decisive spot-kick in the final in East
Rutherford, New Jersey.
Messi made his debut for Argentina in 2005, going on to make 113
For Barca he has scored 453 times in 531 games, including a La
Liga record 312 goals. He has won the Ballon d’Or award for the
world’s best player five times.
In 2014 he was named as the best player at the World Cup, with
then-Fifa president Sepp Blatter saying he was “a little bit
surprised” and Argentina legend Diego Maradona calling the
Argentina are already six games into their qualification campaign
for the 2018 World Cup. They are third in the table, two points
behind leaders Uruguay.
The top four teams progress automatically to the finals in Russia,
while the team finishing fifth qualifies for a two-legged play-off
against the best team from Oceania.