In the end, it was too much to bear.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi shocked the sporting world on Monday, announcing his retirement from international football after his side lost the Copa America Centenario final to Chile in a penalty shootout after he failed to find the net.
“For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, 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.
Messi missed from the spot in the shootout, cutting a dejected figure after the result was sealed. The five-time Fifa Player of the Year has won four Champions League titles and eight La Liga crowns with Barcelona, but has yet to win a trophy with Argentina’s senior team. The Albiceleste, as the Argentinian national football team is known, last won a major international trophy at the 1993 Copa America .
Playing two days after his 29th birthday, Messi lost a final for the third year in a row following an extra-time defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup and a penalty shootout loss to hosts Chile in last year’s Copa America
The two sides were deadlocked 0-0 after 90 minutes and also after another half an hour of extra time in a match where both teams were reduced to 10 men in the first half.
Chilean substitute Francisco Silva placed his penalty low and to the right of Sergio Romero to score the decider after Messi and Lucas Biglia missed for Argentina and Arturo Vidal missed for Chile.