It has been a sad couple of days for the world's best player.
Even after a Treble-winning season with Barcelona, Lionel Messi landed in Chile with a big chip on his shoulder: to win a major professional title with his national team, Argentina. After falling short one year earlier at the World Cup despite a Golden Ball performance, Messi really wanted to lead his team to a Copa América championship, and to lift the trophy as the team captain.
Reunited with former Blaugrana coach Tata Martino, Leo got to play a similar role to the one he has now with the Catalans: coming from right to center, joining the midfield, and working as a creator for the likes of Sergio Agüero and Ángel Di María. Messi had a very good tournament, especially in the semifinal against Paraguay, where he destroyed the opposition. With solid contributions from some of his peers, he reached the final and was ready to win a title.
But then, he met the hosts, and ran into a brick wall of a Chile defense that played at the highest possible level against the greatest footballer we have ever seen. Well (and individually) marked, Messi only created one big chance, at the last minute of regulation, that should have won the game had Gonzalo Higuaín been able to score the easiest goal ever.
The match went to penalty kicks, and Messi did his part, scoring the opening goal with ease. But then he watched two terrible misses by Higuaín and Banega, and Chile won its first Copa América title at home.
Obviously, Messi was devastated after the game, and he took to Facebook to comment on his feelings after the result:
"There's nothing more painful in football than losing a final. But I don't want to leave it any longer to say thank you to everyone who has always supported us and continued to during the tough moments."
It was painful for your fans as well, Leo. Thanks for fighting. You're awesome.