After Argentina lost 4-2 on penalties to Chile in the Copa América final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday night, all of Argentina’s players were understandably heartbroken. But none were more upset than Lionel Messi, who missed Argentina’s first penalty kick after the two sides played to a draw during regulation. It was the first penalty kick Messi missed in his career:
It might also be the final kick he takes on behalf of his country.
After the match, Messi was so upset with the way things played out that he told reporters he is going to retire from international play.
“My thinking right now and thinking about it in the locker room, I’m done playing with the national team,” he said, before explaining his frustrations. “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.”
Since making his international debut in 2005, Messi has taken part in 113 matches with Argentina and has 55 goals, which makes him his country’s all-time leading scorer. But Argentina has lost three Copa América finals as well as the 2014 World Cup final with Messi, and it sounds like it has taken a toll on him.
“I don’t think so,” he said when he was asked if he will ever suit up for Argentina again. “I’ve thought about it. Like I said earlier, I tried everything possible to win. And that’s it. It’s four finals lost.”
Other Argentina players expressed similar sentiments. Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano, and Lucas Biglia are also reportedly going to retire following their team’s latest loss. But at least one of Messi’s teammates, goalkeeper Sergio Romero, isn’t so sure the international star is really going to hang up his Argentina shirt for good.
“I think that Leo spoke in the heat of the moment because a good opportunity passed us by,” Romero said after hearing of his teammate’s plans to retire. “I can’t imagine the national team without Messi.”
Stay tuned to see whether or not Messi actually follows through with his international retirement.