Lionel Messi retires from international football after Argentina Copa America defeat and missed penalty against Chile

'I don't think I will (return). I made up my mind. I did everything possible to win and it's done,' says 29-year-old

Richard A. L. Williams
Monday 27 June 2016 06:12
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Messi announces retirement

Argentina and Barcelona's Lionel Messi has retired from international football after missing in a penalty shootout as Chile won the Copa America final.

The player, who has scored 55 goals in 112 games since making his debut for Argentina in 2005, said: "For me the national team is over. I've done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion.

"I don't think I will (return). I made up my mind. I did everything possible to win and it's done. It's four finals we lost."

Widely considered to be the best footballer of his generation, if not ever, the 29-year-old missed his penalty as Chile won 4-2 in the shootout after the game finished 0-0 over 120 minutes.

Much of his nation had hoped Messi, five-time Fifa Player of the Year, winner of four Champions League titles and eight Spanish La Liga crowns with Barcelona, would bring home their first major championship since 1993.

It was Messi's third defeat in a final in three years and the fourth time overall with Argentina. There was also the 2007 Copa final against Brazil, when he was still a wunderkind, and then an extra-time loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup.

Considered alongside Brazil's Pele and Argentina's Diego Maradona as the sport's greatest, Messi won the titles at the under-20 and Olympic (under-23) levels for Argentina. But in the minds of many he needs a championship with the senior national team to solidify his place in history.

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Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who is from Argentina, said: "Messi's numbers are unparalleled and I think they'll remain that way forever, because it's impossible for a football player to do what Messi has done.

"My generation can't compare him to Maradona — that's for my generation, because of what Maradona did for Argentine soccer. But I think the best player ever played today here in the United States."

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