Argentina and Barcelona F.C. forward Lionel Messi retired from international duty after missing in a penalty shootout as Chile won the Copa América Final.
“For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said.
With Barcelona, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
But his only major international honor was his 2008 Olympic gold, with Argentina now having lost three major finals in three years.
Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup Final by Germany before two Copa America Final defeats by Chile on penalties. Messi was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa América Final. In total, Messi has now suffered defeat in three Copa finals and one World Cup final and is yet to win a major tournament with his country.
“It’s been four finals, it’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over,” he said.
After Sunday’s match finished 0-0 in 120 minutes, Chile won 4-2 on penalties.
Messi’s miss was Argentina’s first attempt in the shootout and it ballooned over the bar after Sergio Romero had denied Chile’s Arturo Vidal. Funny enough Romero, was quoted as saying today, by the Evening Standard, that his pal and teammate had maybe spoken to quickly in the heat of the moment.
“I think he spoke in the heat of the moment because a beautiful opportunity escaped us,” said international teammate and Manchester United goalkeeper Romero.
Lucas Biglia also missed from 12 yards, with Chilean substitute Francisco Silva scoring the decisive spot-kick in the final in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Messi had scored five times at the tournament, including a superb free-kick in the semifinal to become his country’s record scorer with 55 goals.
For Barca he has scored 453 times in 531 games, including a La Liga record 312 goals.
(With information from BBC Sports News)