Messi Announces International Retirement, Teammates In Denial

VIDEO | ‘The national team is over for me.’

Updated
Sports
2 min read
(Photo: AP)

The TV crew working on the Copa America final had their lens set on just one man after the 4-2 defeat of Argentina.

Lionel Messi had missed his penalty; Argentina had lost their third straight major Final; and there was little the playmaker could do to control his tears. However, it was away from the floodlights of the MetLife arena that Lionel Messi chose to drop the ‘R bomb’.

The below television interview in his native language can be roughly translated to: ‘The national team is over for me. It’s not for me after 4 finals. The decision is taken, I believe.’

While most thought it was just a hot-headed decision from an emotional player, Lionel Messi stuck to his decision even in the dressing room while speaking to the Argentina football association’s representative.

In the locker room I know it is over for me, the team is not for me. It’s for the good of all. For me and for all. Many want that. They are not satisfied with reaching the final, and neither are we.
Lionel Messi

Messi, of course, was reacting to the harsh criticism he received following the final defeat to Chile.

‘A great player, but never for Argentina?’ is the one big question that has always hounded the 29-year-old. And now, after missing the opening penalty in the Copa America final, the five-time FIFA Player of the Year, winner of four Champions League titles and eight Spanish La Liga crowns with Barcelona, seems to have given up the fight.

It will, after all, not be Lionel Messi who brings home the country’s first major title since 1993.

Lionel Messi walks back after missing his penalty in the Copa America final vs Chile. (Photo: AP)
Lionel Messi walks back after missing his penalty in the Copa America final vs Chile. (Photo: AP)

Teammates In Denial?

The decision by the 29-year-old, who surpassed Gabriel Batistuta as his country’s highest goalscorer last week, came as a shock to his teammates, who said they hoped his decision was not irrevocable.

Sergio Aguero, Messi’s best friend on the team, said he had never seen the mood in the dressing room so low while goalkeeper Sergio Romero suggested he might rethink his decision.

I think Leo (Messi) spoke hot, because we missed a nice opportunity. Whatever the outcome, demonstrated the spirit, effort and desire of this group. I try to raise his head and support him. I cannot think of the team without Messi.
Sergio Romero

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