Lionel Messi “Done” With Argentina National Team After Copa América Loss to Chile

Lionel Messi “Done” With Argentina National Team After Copa América Loss to Chile

Lionel Messi is finished—with national team competition that is.

The star forward announced that he’s planning to hang up his cleats for Argentina following the penalty-shootout loss to Chile in the Copa América final on Sunday night. Messi missed a penalty kick during the shootout, leaving Chile to win 4-2 on penalties at MetLife Stadium.

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“For me, the national team is over,” Messi told the BBC. “I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.”



But that decision may have just been fueled by postgame emotion, and Messi left the door open for a return in a quote to The New York Times: “In the locker room, I thought that the national team was finished for me, that it’s not for me,” Messi said. “It’s what I feel right now. It’s a great sadness that it happened to me, that I missed penalty kick that was very important. It’s for the good of everybody. It’s not enough to just get to the final and not win.”

Ex-Argentina coach Cesar Luis Menotti said that Messi is likely to reconsider his decision: “It is very difficult to give an opinion as Messi said what he said,” Menotti said. “There comes a moment when the motivation to be with the national team is lost, for thousands of reasons I cannot explain. You would have to talk with him. I believe there were many things he had to live through, and then they did not win [the Copa America]. I believe Messi will change his mind.”

The tournament played out the same way for Argentina for the second straight year—Chile won on penalties after a scoreless draw—which may have made the emotional gut-punch hurt all the more for Messi, who has now lost three Copa América finals in his career along with the 2014 World Cup final against Germany.

Still, there’s very little doubt that the 29-year-old is the best player in the world. Messi has won the Ballon d’Or five times and has led Barcelona to over 10 league titles. Even if he’d scored his PK, Argentina would have fallen in penalties. Even then, he’s only won one major international competition with Argentina: a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics.

Messi has made over 110 appearances for La Albiceste since his first appearance in 2005, scoring 55 goals—the most ever for a player on the team. If he retires from the team, the Olympic medal will remain his only international conquest.

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Maybe Messi will reconsider his decision when the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets closer—but for now, Messi is planning to play for club while leaving country behind.

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