Fresh off a defeat in a third straight international final on Sunday, Lionel Messi dropped an absolute bombshell: He’s retiring from the Argentina national team. It’s entirely possible that the 29-year-old was speaking more from emotion than anything else and that he changes his mind either sooner or later, but right now it looks like the international stage has lost its brightest star.
"We’ve lost four finals, and three straight," Messi told TYC Sports. "It’s a pity, but this is how it has to be. I’m finished with the National Team. That’s it."
SOMEONE, ANYONE, JUST HUG MESSI AND TELL HIM NOT TO RETIRE. https://t.co/dU08gu36op— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) June 27, 2016
Like this final, Argentina also lost to Chile in 2015 Copa America final on penalties. That was on the heals of a 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final. Messi was also part of the 2007 Argentina team that lost to Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final, as well as the 2011 squad that slumped to a disappointing quarterfinal exit despite hosting the tournament.
"I think it’s the best thing for everyone concerned, for me, and for everyone who wants the team to win," he said. "I’ve made up my mind. I tried many times, but I wasn’t able to pull it off. I sought after it, it’s what I wanted the most. I wasn’t able to get it, but I think that’s that. It’s incredibly sad. On top of all that, I went and failed the penalty kick."
Although Messi scored five goals in the tournament and was the most dangerous player in what was a 0-0 tie, he did miss Argentina’s first penalty in the shootout. He had also expressed some frustrations over the national team’s off-field organization. It would appear, that was a bit of foreshadowing.