Lionel Messi retired 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 forward said after defeat by Chile at the Copa America.With Barcelona, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.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 America final.”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.
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.”
The Manchester City striker added: “It is the worst defeat ever, worse than the two other finals. So the thinking is it might be time to make room for other players.”
According to Argentine newspaper La Nacion, Aguero, Javier Mascherano and Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain are also set to retire, while ESPN Deportes reported Angel di Maria, Lucas Biglia, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Ever Banega could follow suit.