In a shocking declaration after missing a penalty shootout against Chile in the Copa America final, Argentina’s ace footballer Lionel Messi has announced his retirement from international football.
Chile beat Argentina in the final for the second consecutive year, 4-2 in the shootout following a 0-0 tie ended an expanded 16-nation edition in the US to mark the championship's 100th anniversary.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo got to lift the trophy in the presence of FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
For Messi and his teammates, this event was a third disappointment at a major international tournament after losing a match to Germany in the World Cup 2014 and two consecutive Copa America defeats to Chile in 2015 and 2016.
Despite being a great generation of players, a sad hopelessness seems to be looming over Argentina’s team since they have not won a major senior title since the 1993 Copa America.
The player, who was crushed after his fourth defeat in a major final with Argentina, said "For me the national team is over. I've done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion.”
A crestfallen Messi wept on the pitch of the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey as Chile's players celebrated their second consecutive win.
"I don't think I will (return). I made up my mind. I did everything possible to win and it's done. It's four finals we lost." The 29 year old Barcelona superstar, who had scored 55 goals in 112 games, told the reporters.
Regardless, Messi remains one of the most talented players, although his club football has long overshadowed his international performance.