Argentina and Bercelona star Lionel Messi decided to throw in the towel from international duty after last night’s Copa America final defeat to Chile in a penalty shootout in which he missed his take.
It was the fourth time Argentina and Messi lost at a major tournament final in nine years.
“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.” He told media after the match.
Despite Messi, 29, winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Spanish side Barcelona, his only major international honour remains the Olympic gold medal he won at the 2008 Games.
As well as losing two Copa America finals on penalties to Chile, Messi was in the Argentina side beaten 1-0 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.
He was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.
“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. He added
Messi had scored five times at this year’s Copa America, including a superb free-kick in the semi-final win over hosts the USA.
That goal made him his country’s record scorer with 55 goals, eclipsing the 54-goal mark of striker Gabriel Batistuta.
Sunday’s Copa America final finished 0-0 after 120 minutes, with Chile eventually winning 4-2 on penalties as Messi missed Argentina’s first attempt from the spot, ballooning his shot over the bar after Romero had denied Chile’s Arturo Vidal.
The Copa America usually takes place every four years, but this was an extra tournament to celebrate the competition’s centenary.