“I tried my hardest. It has been four finals, I want more than anyone to win a title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen… I think this is best for everyone, firstly for me and for a lot of people that wish this. The team has ended for me, a decision made.”
Mumbai : Lionel Messi sensationally quit international football leaving Argentinian football in turmoil after a traumatic penalty shootout defeat to Chile in the Copa America final.
The heartbroken Barcelona superstar left the field in tears after missing a spot-kick in shoot-out — Messi’s fourth straight defeat in a major final with 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.”
In May 2011, Lionel Messi had said, “I have fun like a child in the street. When the day comes when I’m not enjoying it, I will leave football.” The day finally came on June 27, 2016. After a full five years.
A lot of things must have happened during this period of 5 years. These years were also a mute witness to Magical Messi’s rise as the next best player after Maradona and Pele. But all that looked so well was not that well in fact. Messi’s stunning announcement to not play for Argentina again is a testimony of sorts for that. Lionel Messi took many things in his stride. Many wins, losses, criticism and so on… but this proved to be the final nail in the coffin and he has decided to stop. Fortunately, he has not quit from the game itself.
Honestly, Messi the magician was not considered that prolific when he was playing for Argentina by many. Football legend Diego Maradona too echoed the sentiment recently. Is Messi as good as Maradona was a topic of endless debate worldwide. Messi’s decision to retire from national duty might give a full stop to it or trigger comparisons afresh.
While universally regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever, he has regularly been targeted for his inability to land a major title with Argentina. Messi’s failure to match the achievements of Diego Maradona, who single-handedly carried the team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, has often been held against him.
Many believe that the decision to quit is something which Messi had planned in advance. The time to make it public was also well thought of by the genius like his magical moves on the field. Was it really so or is it an outcome of the defeat in Copa again? We might have to wait to know that till the great Messi decides to open his closet.
Considering his history with Argentina and age, Messi’s decision is something which his diehard fans would not mind or defend. The question is, had Argentina not lost the final, Messi scored the penalty, would he still have called it a day for his national team ahead of Olympics? Well played Messi. We will always cherish your skills as a forward and a playmaker!