The final of the Copa America Centenario was historic for many reasons.
But for Lionel Messi, it was potentially the end of a part of his career.
After 120 minutes of battle, Argentina lost to Chile 4-2 in penalties. For the third straight year, Argentina lost a third straight final.
After the match, the talk wasn't about Chile's back-to-back titles, it was what Messi said after the match. Messi told TyC Sports his time with the Argentine national team was over.
It's possible Messi has made a decision in the heat of the moment. He just lost another final and his frustration is at a peak.
But maybe he's serious and this is it.
The though of not ever seeing Lionel Messi wearing an Albiceleste kit is inconceivable.
Then again, Messi has made a career of making the football impossible possible.
Honestly, when Gonzalo Higuain missed the one-on-one chance in the first half, I felt that the night was not going to end well for Argentina. I just kept thinking it can't be just bad luck.
It was an omen.
Thanks Higuain...— Messi10Videos (@Messi10Videos) June 27, 2016
Angel Di Maria wasn't 100 percent and was subbed out. Another final lost for "El Fideo." Sergio Aguero came on and once again, another disappointing performance.
What made the night even worse was Messi's penalty kick. Leo sent the ball into the New Jersey sky, and with that, Messi's night ended with disappointment.
It was more than bad luck. It was destiny.
For someone who's won it all at Barcelona, it feels odd that Messi could not win a title with his national team. Then again, Argentina is obviously not FC Barcelona. But with all of the talent Argentina offers, you'd think at least the Albiceleste could've won a title.
But as the old saying goes: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
The talent at Argentina did not work hard enough on the pitch to win a title. Sure, many of the players tried hard during all three finals, Messi included, but those same players did not execute the finish. How does a team that normally scores three to four goals a match suddenly freeze in a final? Call it a choke, call it a weakness, call it whatever you want. There may not be a better word to define this generation's Argentine national team other than disappointing.
To see Messi cry was tough. He's a hero at Barcelona. But with Argentina, he's seen by some as a disappointment, a bottler, a choke artist, etc. Not everyone loves Leo, and in Argentina, he's not as appreciated as he is in Barcelona. Expectations were always so high, and unfortunately, it seems like Messi will never fulfill those expectations, fair or unfair.
Here's what Lionel Messi has had to say on his decision to retire from international football #SSNHQ pic.twitter.com/7ik9Fd2aSM— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) June 27, 2016
Of course, Barcelona fans were upset to see Messi cry because we want to see him get some sort of success with his national team. It seemed unfair to see Messi cry at the end of the match. But let's tell the truth, it was not unfair. Messi missed his penalty, his teammates didn't step up and Argentina deserved to lose. Credit must be given to Chile. They played better overall in the match and finished the job in penalties. Again, it was disappointing for Messi, but not unfair.
I now truly believe it is not meant to be for Lionel Messi to win a major title with Argentina. It can't just be bad luck anymore. Bad luck is temporary, but what Messi and this generation's Argentina team have endured is more than just bad luck. Why? Who knows. In sports, and in life, there are questions there are no answers to.
I hope Lionel Messi reconsiders and continues with the Argentine national team. But if it's truly the end, no one — and I mean no one — can say he didn't give everything he had. Messi gave 10 years to his national team. I know some will say he didn't, but I could care less about what those haters say. Three straight international finals is no small feat. Some will say, "Yeah, but he didn't win a final." What can we say? That's true. It's a shame and it will be the blemish in Messi's football career.
Still, Messi gave his all and left if all on the pitch. Those tears running down Leo's face were his pain, his sacrifice, his passion for his country, and his sadness knowing he was unable to bring his country a title.
The look on Messi's face seemed to express someone accepting one's sad fate. It hurt to watch — painful, if you will.
Más no puedes hacer, Leo. Gracias por todo, algún día la ganarás pic.twitter.com/MHXNEKd6rg— Emenderk (@Emenderkfcb10) June 27, 2016
Leo Messi's heart has now been broken three times in three years. After a decade of service for the Argentine national team, maybe he's come to the realization that he gave all he had for the Albiceleste. Sadly, his all wasn't enough, it's a shame and there's nothing more is left to be said about it.
For three straight finals in three straight years:
Angel Di Maria was hurt (didn't even play in WC 2014 Final).
Sergio "Kun" Aguero did not perform to certain expectations.
Gonzalo Higuain missed a sitter that would've won Argentina a title.
Argentina couldn't win in 90 minutes.
Argentina couldn't win in 120 minutes, with two years in a row of losing in penalties.
Argentina was shut out.
Argentina lost in heart-breaking fashion.
Not one.Not two.But three finals in three years with Argentina.Still nothing to show for it. #CopaAmerica pic.twitter.com/wDL8aSzhur— JΛY BUCKS (@TheMasterBucks) June 27, 2016
Maybe some things are not meant to be.
For Lionel Messi, winning a title with the Argentine national team may not be in his destiny.
If Messi does come back to the Albiceleste, he'll come back to try and give his country the title they've been waiting for.
If anyone can change this Argentine generation's destiny of losing, it's Leo.
As I previously said, Lionel Messi — the greatest footballer ever — has made a career of making the football impossible possible.
#NoTeVayasLio pic.twitter.com/KKdOe67wBl— TyC Sports (@TyCSports) June 27, 2016