Messi speaks of Argentina exit after losing Copa América Centenario over penalties

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Argentina's football captain Lionel Messi spoke of retirement from international football after losing 4–2 to Chile in the penalty decider in Copa América Centenario final on Sunday. Since then, many players including his present FC Barcelona teammate Luis Suárez, former teammates David Villa and Ronaldinho, former Argentina captain Diego Maradona, and Argentine president Mauricio Macri have expressed disappointment, some urging him to stay.

File photo of Lionel Messi after a loss in 2014.
Image: Agência Brasil.

Messi missed the penalty kick after Chilean Arturo Vidal's spot kick was stopped by Sergio Romero as the match progressed to a penalty shootout. Javier Mascherano and Sergio Agüero scored their spot kicks for Argentina, but after Lucas Biglia's penalty was saved by Claudio Bravo, Francisco Silva scored the winning penalty for Chile.

Messi was crying after the match, and later told news reporters, "In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it's not for me" ((es))Spanish language: ‍En el vestuario pensé que se terminó para mí la Selección, no es para mí. He added, "I tried so hard to be champion with Argentina. Now I am leaving without having managed it" ((es))Spanish language: ‍Ya lo intenté mucho, ser campeón con Argentina. No se dio, no lo pude conseguir.

Today, Suárez speaking to Radio Tenfield said, "Knowing Leo, I'm sure it was said in a moment of sadness and helplessness. It would be a shame for football if he took this decision, but I'm sure he will reconsider and change his mind."

Yesterday, president Mauricio Macri and Maradona urged him to think about his decision.

Messi's former teammate David Villa said, "It's very bad news for soccer. Messi is the best player in the world. [...] I don't know what happened in his mind[...] I know he's strong, a professional player, he's sure now disappointed because he lost one more final in penalty kicks again."

Ronaldinho, former Brazilian player and ex-Barcelona player, told America TV he respects Messi's opinion and he would be always with him.

Five time World Player of the Year Messi has lost four finals on the international stage, of which three defeats came in the last three years — 2014 FIFA World Cup loss to Germany, last year's loss to Chile, and this year's.

Sergio Agüero told Argentine newspaper Olé other players were also deciding weather to hang up their boots.

Messi played for Argentina when they won the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal.

June 26, 2016
20:00 (UTC-4)
Argentina 0–0 (a.e.t.) Chile MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Referee: Héber Lopes Brazil
Lionel Messi Missed
Lucas Biglia Missed
Marcos Rojo Sent off after 43' 43'
2–4 (penalties) Arturo Vidal Missed
Marcelo Díaz Booked after 16'Booked again after 28'Sent off after 28' 16', 28'