Lionel Messi, the talismanic forward at the heart of Argentina’s national team and more than likely the best footballer on Earth, has stated his intentions to retire from the Selección.
Following Argentina’s crushing loss on penalties to Chile in today’s Copa America final – in which Messi scuffed his penno – the 29-year-old reportedly said “it’s difficult. It’s a tough moment to analyse.”
“The first thing that comes to my head, it’s that the Selección is over for me. We’ve been through 4 finals. I searched for it, I wanted it more that anything. It just didn’t happen”
Of course, today’s defeat comes after 2014’s World Cup final loss to Germany, and last year’s Copa America final loss against – you guessed it – Chile. Despite 112 appearances for Argentina, the only “major” international honour he’s won was gold at the 2008 Olympics.
While it’s not known if the serial La Liga, Champions League, and Ballon d’Or winner premeditated his decision, the news is still a shock to anyone who’s seen the bloke play recently – despite his team’s defeat today, Messi is still… well, he’s Messi.
There are rumours his retirement will also precipitate the retirement of Argentinian mainstays Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano, all three of whom are far, far better than their international trophy-counts indicate.
The only possible plus-side? If Messi sticks with his decision, his schedule with have notably fewer games. That means we might get to watch the magician in action at club level for a few more belligerently excellent years.
Source: BBC / Selección Argentina / Twitter.
Photo: LatinContent/STR / Getty.