The five-time FIFA Player of the Year, winner of four Champions League titles and eight Spanish La Liga crowns with Barcelona, Lionel Messi retires from internationals after Argentina lose Copa America final to ChileLionel-Messi

After losing three previous Copa America finals, Lionel Messi on Sunday night had another chance to win. Argentina and Chile were locked in a scoreless tie, and the match would be decided by penalty kicks. Messi bent down to adjust the ball and backed up to get a running start. The five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner licked his lip, gave the goalie a quick appraising glance, and sent a cannonball-like shot over the goal, missing for Argentina when it mattered

In a promo video before the game, Sports Illustrated called Messi the “greatest soccer player ever” and compared him to Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan. He has had a celebrated career with FC Barcelona in Spain. He’s famous for breathtaking shots, often taken after a blur of footwork to get past defenders.

But aside from an Olympic gold in 2008, Messi has never been able to bring home a major international championship playing for his home country.


He was clearly devastated by Sunday night’s 4-2 loss to Chile and the part he played in it. The BBC quoted Messi after the game as saying:

" 'For me, the national team is over,' he said after defeat by Chile in the Copa America final. 'I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.' ...
" 'It's been four finals, I tried,' added Messi, who made his debut for Argentina in 2005 and has played 113 times for his country.
" 'It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.' ...
" 'It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.' "

That sounds pretty final. But maybe not. The BBC also quoted Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero saying he hoped Messi would “reflect” on his decision to retire and reconsider:

" 'I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful opportunity escaped us,' said Romero. 'I can't imagine a national team without Messi.' "