Social Media Erupts as Lionel Messi Says He Will Retire
Social Media Erupts as Lionel Messi Says He Will Retire

After missing a penalty kick and losing the Copa America final at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey on June 26, soccer superstar Lionel Messi hinted he’ll be hanging up his Argentine jersey for good.

Messi, who just turned 29, told reporters after the game that the national team was not for him.

“In the locker room I thought the national team is over for me, it’s not for me,” said Messi. “That’s what I feel now.”

The Futbol Club Barcelona player has taken the Argentine team to four finals, but has not been able to win a cup with the team.

“It’s a big sadness that it happens to me again,” said Messi.

“It’s for the good of everyone. We don’t settle with going to the final and not winning it,” he added.

Argentina's Lionel Messi gestures after being defeated by Chile in the penalty shoot-out of the Copa America Centenario final in East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States, on June 26, 2016. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)
Argentina’s Lionel Messi after being defeated by Chile in the penalty shoot-out of the Copa America Centenario final in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on June 26, 2016. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)

A video from a fan at the game shows Messi visibly emotional after his penalty kick, kneeling on the grass with his head down right before Chile scores the last point to win the tournament.

He was then seen with his hands on his knees in tears as teammates consoled him.

Argentine player, Sergio “Kun” Agüero said Messi was the person who was most devastated by his penalty kick miss saying, “That is the worst I have seen him in the dressing room.”

There were rumors that other Argentine players would follow Messi and retire as well.

But goalkeeper Sergio Romero hints it might not be over for Messi, saying he was speaking in the heat of the moment.

Criticism

Messi, who debuted for Argentina in 2005 as a teenager, had been heavily criticized for failing to win with his national team, and having no problem winning with Spain’s Barcelona team.  

Fellow Argentine Diego Maradona who led his country to win the 1986 FIFA World Cup, had recently been caught saying Messi lacked leadership for the national team to Brazil’s Pelé.

“He is a good person, but he doesn’t have personality. He doesn’t have a lot of personality to be a leader,” Maradona told Pelé.

Maradona, who was once captain of Argentina, told players before the Copa America final, “If we don’t win, don’t come back.”

Legacy

Although Messi lost the Copa America final, he broke an Argentinian soccer record during the tournament. He has surpassed Gabriel Batistuta as the country’s highest goalscorer of all time. Messi earned the recognition after scoring his 55th goal for the national team during the match against the United States in front of 70,000 spectators in Houston.

“I’m happy, but I’m also grateful to my team-mates, to all of them I’ve played with lately. This record is down to them too,” Messi said after the game. 

Twitter Explodes Over Messi

Messi immediately started trending on social media after his penalty kick miss and after indicating he could retire. 

Messi’s tears were all over twitter:

People also begged the soccer player to not retire. #MiMensajeaMessi, which translates to My Message to Messi kicked off on Twitter:

Messi is still to confirm whether he will actually retire.

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