East Rutherford: Lionel Messi, often considered the best player in the world and rated by many in the sport as the greatest of all time, sensationally announced his retirement from international football here on Sunday after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile.
Chile worn-out Argentina’s dreams to win the Copa America title yet another term at the MetLife stadium in a penalty shootout victory. After both sides failed to score in regulation time, the game went into penalties. Chile missed the first penalty and Messi stepped up next to take Argentina’s first. The pint-sized false 9 took a few steps before striking the ball wide off target, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. This was his first penalty miss at international level.
"For me the national team is over. I've done all I can, 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, it hurts not to be a champion." the 29-year-old Barcelona superstar told reporters after his fourth defeat in a major final with Argentina.
Argentina lost the Copa America final 4-2 via penalties for the second consecutive year.
Messi began playing football at a young age and his potential was quickly identified by Barcelona. Making his debut in the 2004-05 season, he broke his team record for the youngest footballer to score a league goal.Major honours soon followed as Barcelona won La Liga in Messi's debut season, and won a double of the league and Champions League in 2006.
His breakthrough season was in the 2006-07 season; he became a first team regular, scoring a hat-trick in El Clásico and finishing with 14 goals in 26 league games. Perhaps his most successful season was the 2008-09 season, in which Messi scored 38 goals to play an integral part in a treble-winning campaign. His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his "successor".
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, winner of four Champions League titles and eight Spanish La Liga crowns with Barcelona, Messi lost a final for the third year in a row and the fourth time overall with Argentina. At, MetLife stadium, he had the chance to change it all, but fate stand against him.