Lionel Messi retires from international play

Argentina star Lionel Messi is perceived by many to be the best player in the world, but he’s been less-than-impressive on the international stage and his frustration has caused him to call it quits, it seems.

For the second consecutive year, Messi and Argentina watched Chile defeat them in the Copa America final on Sunday night, and that appeared to be too much to bear.

After the match, Messi announced that he’d be retiring from international competition, shocking many.

As shocking as it may seem at first glance, given the state of Argentina football, things make a bit more sense. Argentina doesn’t have much young talent waiting in the wings to play upfront with Messi, and Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, both 28 years of age, are on the decline. Aguero is a great option off the bench, but nothing more, while Higuain has become more of a poacher.

The question is, if Argentina had won on Sunday night, would Messi still have retired? Or did Messi’s frustration from the recent match play a part? He was downright awful in the game, by his standards, failing to record a shot on goal or set his teammates up with quality scoring chances. And he missed awfully on a few free kicks. Messi looked quite ordinary, invisible, even.

Messi has now played in four major finals, and lost all of them.

He cried after missing a pivotal penalty kick, but shed no tears announcing his decision. Still, to be honest, retiring at this stage of his career comes off like he quit on his country. And to go out after a brutal loss like the one the team suffered, well, superstars don’t go out like that. They go back, watch the tape and strive to get better for the next tournament. The 2018 World Cup isn’t that far away, and Messi’s doing a disservice to Argentina by not playing in it (assuming he stays retired).

If this news is indeed true, and Messi remains retired, the state of Argentina’s football program just took a huge hit, and will need to take a few steps back and rebuild.

Matt Birch

About Matt Birch

Matt is the founder of The Sports Daily and manages all daily operations of the website. His work has been featured on MSN, Fox Sports, Yardbarker, SB Nation and Bleacher Report. Matt has also written for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He enjoys eating good food, drinking craft beer and making original, compelling stories go viral.