‘I’ve done all I can’: Messi ‘retires’ from Argentina team after heart-wrenching loss to Chile

Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi (10) © Adam Hunger-
Following Argentina’s 4:2 loss to Chile in a deciding penalty shoot-out in the Copa America 2016, world famous midfielder Lionell Messi, devastated after missing his penalty kick, told reporters he is done playing for the national team.

This is the third consecutive final that Argentina has lost in three years, and the second consecutive Copa America final in which Chile beat Argentina.

READ MORE: Chile beats Argentina on penalties to win Copa America again

After the game, Messi told reporters that this Argentina career may finally be over - a mere fortnight after telling reporters on the eve of the tournament that he felt he would return to Argentina to play club football one day.

"The national team is over for me," Messi said. "I'm taking this decision for me and for the many people who want this. I've tried so hard, but I'm leaving without managing it."

"It's what I feel now, a great sadness has occurred again," he added. "It fell to me to miss the penalty, it was very important.

"I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion," the footballer told TyC Sports.

His teammate and goalkeeper for English club Manchester United, Sergio Romero, said: "I don't think he's thought about it properly ... I don't imagine a national team without Messi."

Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player of his generation, has never won a major trophy for Argentina. The 29 year old failed at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 when his team lost to Germany.

The 'retirement', whether final or just a heat-of-the-moment decision, nevertheless comes against a background of simmering discontent - Messi criticized the Argentina Football Association (AFA) ahead of the final on Friday in a press conference, saying he had a backlog of complaints with the AFA and that all will be revealed after the final.

Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player of his generation, has never won a major trophy for Argentina. The 29 year old failed at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 when his team lost to Germany.

In Sunday’s final, Messi put his penalty kick over the crossbar for the first time in his international career. Chile beat Argentina on penalties - 4-2.

For now though, it remains to be seen whether Messi will be back for the 2018 Word Cup in Russia, and even whether he will make an appearance in the qualifiers, where Argentina are currently third in the table (with the top four automatically qualifying).

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