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Messi retires from international football

Updated Jun 27, 2016 07:06pm


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Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts after missing a penalty kick against Chile during the Copa America final at MetLife Stadium on June 26, 2016. — AFP
Lionel Messi of Argentina reacts after missing a penalty kick against Chile during the Copa America final at MetLife Stadium on June 26, 2016. — AFP

EAST RUTHERFORD: Lionel Messi sensationally announced his retirement from international football here Sunday after Argentina crashed to an upset defeat against Chile in the final of the Copa America.

The heartbroken Barcelona superstar was distraught after missing a spot-kick as Chile snatched victory in a penalty shoot-out – Messi’s fourth straight defeat in a major final while representing Argentina.

“For me the national team is over,” the crestfallen 29-year-old told reporters.

“I've done all I can, I’ve been in four finals and it hurts not to be a champion. It’s a hard moment for me and the team, and it’s difficult to say, but it’s over with the Argentina team.”

Know more: Clues to weary Messi's shocking retirement from international football

Messi’s dramatic announcement followed Argentina’s third loss in a major final since 2014.

They were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final of the World Cup in 2014 and lost on penalties, also to Chile, in the final of the 2015 Copa America.

Messi also tasted defeat with Argentina in the final of the 2007 Copa America.

Despite a glittering career that has seen him be named FIFA World Player of the Year on no fewer than five occasions, Messi has often faced baffling criticism from Argentina fans.

Although universally regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever, he has regularly been criticised for his failure to land a major title in the colours of Argentina.

Messi’s failure to match the achievements in the Argentina jersey of Diego Maradona, who single-handedly carried the team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, has often been held against him.

Maradona himself has often taken potshots at Messi, criticising him on the eve of the tournament for a perceived “lack of personality”.

“He’s a really good person, but he has no personality,” Maradona said in Paris shortly before the start of Euro 2016.

“He lacks the character to be a leader.”

Messi’s bombshell decision comes after a gruelling season which was disrupted by injury last year.

He recovered to help Barcelona win the Spanish title once more and was relishing the prospect of leading Argentina to glory in the Copa America Centenario.

His commitment to playing for Argentina was reflected in his decision to fly from Spain to Argentina for a low-key friendly against Honduras shortly before the tournament, where he suffered a back injury.

He then returned to Spain to give evidence at his trial for tax fraud before jetting off to the United States to join up with his Argentina team-mates.

Although he was injured for his team’s opening group game against Chile, he came on as a substitute in a 5-0 hammering of Panama to score a hat-trick in 19 minutes.

He then equalled Argentina’s international goalscoring record of 54, held by Gabriel Batistuta, in the quarter-finals before setting a new mark with his 55th international goal in the semi-final win over the United States.


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Comments (31) Closed

Rohit Singh Jun 27, 2016 10:10am

As a Messi fan i am heartbroken but he has given us many memories to cherish and wish him him the best for his future. Will miss him in Argentina colors.

Rahul Jun 27, 2016 10:18am

"Fall seven times stand up eight" this is what champs do. Certainly not an act of a champion player. Your country needs you to play till you are on your feet. Don't disappoint them.

N D Gaur Jun 27, 2016 10:27am

He is the "GOD" of Argentinian football just like Tendulkar was the "GOD" of Indian Cricket!Hardly ever performing to the level of expectations of their fans! Still , he has age on his side and must not lose heart so easily. He skill and fitness are still great, it is only the mindset which needs to be strengthened.

FAHIM Jun 27, 2016 10:49am

It's sad when the hero cries. Football didn't do justice to Lionel Messi, the greatest of current era. Love you Messi

Abdullah Jun 27, 2016 10:53am

Do not retire Messi.......:-( Come to Pakistan....we love you here buddy........what a player....just awesome....

Azhar jamil Jun 27, 2016 11:02am

Good bye Messi.

Reverse Swing Jun 27, 2016 11:04am

Very similar to the great Sachin Tendulkar -- great individual accomplishments by Mr. Tendukar, but could not excel as Captain of the Indian Cricket Team -- really happy for Sachin that he was able to lift the World Cup even though he did not particularly contribute in the finals.

Sad for Messi that he could not lift any cup in his Argentine shirt -- wish him all the very best and and further success in his sports career.

Dija Jun 27, 2016 11:09am

The world will be so very sad at your decision....please reconsider and come back...we at Pakistan and ofcourse around the world love you so much!!!

Careless Whispers Jun 27, 2016 12:24pm

It doesn't matter What Maradona says, Messi will go down in history books as one of the best footballer of his time....

syed Jun 27, 2016 01:01pm

Mohammad Hafeez, Yunus Khan, Afridi and Misbah. Did you hear how a great player feels ashamed when he cannot win for his team?

Maddy Jun 27, 2016 01:04pm

Messi is the AB deVilliers of football. One of the best players in their respective sports, awesome with their clubs but unfortunately could not deliver with the national side on the biggest of all occassions . . amid too much expectations. Probably will go down in history as the greatest sportsmen to not have won any trophy with the country. And damn I just love them both. Heartbroken :(

B. M. Siddiqui Spain Jun 27, 2016 01:25pm

Great Messi heartbroken, Pille, Meridona, David Bakum this is Messi is 5th great player, do not heart broken come to learn from Pakistani cricketer like Misba 42 yrs and ODI captain Azhar ali (who always lost with white wash in cricket but never resign)

andul razzaq Jun 27, 2016 02:07pm

Undoubtedly the best player of modern time but as far as playing from his national side is concerned he has been very unlucky not winning any major title 4 his national side

shahram Jun 27, 2016 02:08pm

@Abdullah he is retiring from international Football meaning he will continue play for his Club.

Apache Jun 27, 2016 02:33pm

coward move from Messi. I know he will he disappointed but taking retirement at age of 29? he will take it back hopefully

Shafique Jun 27, 2016 03:15pm

A test for Argentenian fans to force Messi take back his decision...

usman Jun 27, 2016 03:43pm

it's a sad day for international football

AdHawk Jun 27, 2016 04:16pm

He was really dejected after the final. I think it was his own role in the defeat (missing the spot kick) that forced this decision. Another factor is that he could never command the adulation of his countrymen in quite the same way as Maradona.

Shanzeh Asif Jun 27, 2016 07:12pm

Messi has taken the decision of retiring because he was depressed and disappointed, but it is my opinion that messi should not take retirement, he is the best player and my favourite player, there will be no fun in the game,, if will take retirement after four or five years, what's the difference... if should complete his time,,, there is one thing I know that he has God gifted talent that nobody has,,, never loose hope,, I wish him all the best and insist not to retire... please...

Shanzeh Asif Jun 27, 2016 07:40pm

Messi is a champion, he doesn't need a trophy to tell him him that he is a champion,,, not fro trophy but....for people...! Champion of the world..

Zaidi Jun 27, 2016 08:15pm

Please don't compare Messi with Sachin Tendulkar. There is a big difference between the two sportsmen. One is renowned player that the world knows of, the other is just a star in the world of cricket.

Faizan Jun 27, 2016 08:42pm

Well the fans all over the world specially the Argentinians expected more from him but he is human and he did all he could do but unfortunately he leaves the international arena without a title to his name. But he still is one of the great players to have played football undoubtedly though distraught at the moment. Blaming him for not bringing the title home would be a bit harsh on him but the world is cruel you make one mistake and they forget all the good work that you have done. I think he should not be targeted for missing the penalty. Its just a game one team looses and the other wins.

haider Jun 27, 2016 09:13pm

so if you dont live up to the expectations of the nation, then you should leave / resign and make way for someone else ?

hint hint - are you listening nawaz?

Shanzeh Asif Jun 27, 2016 10:21pm

Life knocks you hard,, you rise up strong ''' please messi don't resign!! Just game don't mind..... this is the time when you make decisions,,, all the fans especially Pakistan loves you,,, all the best.... this news is like a shock,, please take it back.. we want you to continue your game.. besides champions don't quit!!!

Asim Sagheer Jun 27, 2016 10:38pm

Go well Messi, you are gem of a game have given us splendid memories.

Sayyar khan Jun 28, 2016 12:03am

He will be back.

Bkt Jun 28, 2016 04:41am

In the old days there used to be referrers in soccer, but in this final when 4 to 6 players would surround Messi and foul him there wasn't a single yellow card. This is taking the high level of professional play down to a new level. It doesn't matter if his resignation lost so much as whether a good game was played - and it wasn't. Football will miss Messi

Fact Jun 28, 2016 08:28am

Goes on to prove that ronaldo is still better

Ahmar Qureshi Jun 28, 2016 09:36am

Come one Messi! Never Give Up! Multiple contests to complete in Life! Don't lose hope! Resignation won't do any good! If you can get the peace of your mind by this decision then your Fans will mourn only! We buy Lays Chips just because your advertisement on it! :-)

FAN Jun 28, 2016 09:33pm

Messi is not just one of the greatest, he is the greatest football player world had seen. Look at his achievements and accomplishments, Pele and Maradona are one of the greatest but can't match to the accomplishment of Messi. They were great players and we can compare them but Messi is "Lord of football" and Lord can't be compared. Messi had defined football and just look at what age. Some talents are just divinely gifted unmatched and incomprehensible. What Messi had done is not emotional out burst there are series of event resulted that. Completely screwed up Argentinian Football Association just like we have PCB. Its very cruel to disrespect such a living legend. Winning the world cup is just one of the event it does not define the greatness of players. He was, He is and He will remain the greatest player of All time. Atleast the current records defines that until in future another divinely gifted player is born.

FAN Jun 28, 2016 09:34pm

@Fact Ronaldo is not even close to what Messi had achieved. Ronaldo is just over rated good player. Can't be compared to greatest like Messi, Pele and Maradona.