Argentina lost the final of the Copa America on Sunday night – and as they did, Lionel Messi’s heart broke.
The Barcelona star was once criticised regularly for his performances in national side, but no longer: after leading his nation to the World Cup final in Brazil, and two successive finals of the Copa America, his passion and commitment can’t be doubted.
Once again, however, Messi came up short: Argentina lost the final on penalties to Chile, just as they did last year.
The year before that, Argentina lost the World Cup final to Germany, who scored deep in extra time. Messi had also lost the 2007 Copa America final as well. Argentina haven’t won the continental title since 1993, and they’ve not won the World Cup since 1986 – the year before Messi was born.
This latest dose of pain was clearly the worst: he stepped up first in the penalty shoot-out but missed the target.
It appears to have been all too much for Messi: despite only having turned 29 on Friday, he announced his retirement from international football after this latest heartbreak.
With the next World Cup only two years away, and with Messi clearly still having so much to offer, we can only hope that in the coming days he changes his mind…