Lionel Messi Blows Crucial Penalty Kick, Announces Retirement From International Play

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

The international soccer career of Lionel Messi appears to have ended on the sourest of notes.

Engaged in his third trip to the Copa America finals with Argentina, Messi's side battled Chile to a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes of action, leading to penalty kicks.

After Argentine keeper Sergio Romero started the shootout with a save, Messi followed with his first penalty miss ever, according to the broadcast.

Chile went on to win in PKs, their second time doing so over a Messi-led Argentine side. Messi also fell to Brazil in the Copa finals in 2007 and lost to Germany in the finals of the 2014 World Cup.

Messi teared up as the shootout carried on.

After the loss, he ostensibly retired from international soccer.

"For me, the national team is over." he said. "I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion."

Two days earlier, Messi had expressed dissatisfaction with the Argentine Football Association.

"Once again waiting on a plane to leave for our destination," Messi wrote on Instagram. "What a disaster the AFA are. My god!"

Now, the five-time winner of the Ballon d'Or—FIFA's yearly award for the world's best male player—eight-time La Liga champion, and four-time Champions League winner with Barcelona will be focusing on his club career.

"It's been four finals, I tried," said Messi, who started playing for Argentina in 2005.

"It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.

"I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, then for everyone.

"I think there's a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it.

"It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back."

But Romero warned the world that Messi might not actually be done with Argentina for good.

"I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful opportunity escaped us," Romero said. "I can't imagine a national team without Messi."

Messi's greatest international success came in 2008, when he led his team to gold at the Olympics. Earlier in this year's Copa America, he broke Argentina's record for goals scored in international play.

 

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