Football can be a brutal sport as the Argentinian national football team realised once more last night in the final of the 2016 Copa América Centenario at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, when they lost the final 2-4 on penalties to Chile after a 120 minute goalless fight.
The tragic hero for Argentina was once more their captain Lionel Messi, who blasted Argentina’s first shot over in a shootout which also saw Chile’s Arturo Vidal and Messi teammate Lucas Biglia denied by the keepers.
And after the defeat the 29-year-old Messi told the media, “It’s not meant for me. For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion.”
It was Messi’s third final loss in two years – 2014 FIFA World Cup to Germany in extratime, 2015 Copa America like last night to Chile on penalties and add to that a loss to archrivals Brazil in the 2007 Copa America though Messi won the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
“It’s been four finals, I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over,” he added.
“I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, and 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,” Messi ended by stating.
Messi had scored five goals at the 2016 Copa America, but once more he did not have his best day in a big final though only the semifinals he had broken Batistuta’s all time Argentina record of 54 goals with a sublime typical Messi free kick.
Lionel Messi ends his international career with unfinished business and he will continue to be second best in Argentina to legendary Diego Maradona, while at club level he already is one of the greatest of all time, maybe by the end of his career he could be regarded as the best ever, but only history will be able to tell.