East Rutherford (New Jersey, US), June 27 - Football fans around the world were left dumbstruck after Argentina and Barcelona icon Lionel Messi announced his international retirement following Argentina�s heartbreaking loss to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final here.
�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,� the five-time World Footballer of the Year said after the match at the MetLife Stadium here on Sunday night.
�It�s a hard moment for me and the team, and it�s difficult to say, but it�s over with the Argentina team.�
For a player used to winning everything in sight at the club level with FC Barcelona, Messi�s international career followed a depressingly familiar pattern of disappointment and under-achievement.
With Barcelona, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues. But his only major international honour is the 2008 Olympic gold, with Argentina now having lost three major finals in three years. Argentina were beaten 0-1 in the 2014 World Cup final by Germany before two Copa America final defeats by Chile on penalties. He was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.
The dimunitive dynamo from the city of Rosario in central Argentina made his international debut in 2005 as an 18-year-old. He has played 113 international matches and is the highest ever scorer for his country with 55 goals. � IANS