Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi announced his retirement from International Football on June 27th 2016 following a 2-4 defeat to Chile in a penalty shootout. The announcement has taken the world by storm as the Argentinean forward has hung his boots for the national team.
Following an emotionally and physically draining match, the football maestro ended up on the losing side in the Copa America 2016 Final. The defeat ended up being one too many for the captain.
In a post-match interview Leo declared his retirement. The anger, disbelief and profound sadness was evident in his words.
“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. He further added, “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.”
Messi made his debut for Argentina in 2005, going on to make 113 appearances. The final was the fourth major final the team has lost in the last nine years.
“I tried my hardest. It’s been four finals, and I was not able to win. I tried everything possible. It hurts me more than anyone, but it is evident that this is not for me. I want more than anyone to win a title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen.”
On being asked whether he will rethink his decision, Messi told the reporter that it’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.”
His teammate Sergio Aguero said, “Lamentably, the most f—ed up is Leo, because of the penalty, it’s the worst I’ve seen him in the dressing room.” The Argentina captain missed his spot-kick in the decisive shootout at MetLife Stadium which automatically put the pressure on Argentina from the beginning.
Messi now stands to miss the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2018 World Cup. The Argentinean uniform will not look the same as with Leo’s exit the team has lost a prominent and significant player.