Messi retires from internationals after Chile retains Copa

Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:25am EDT
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By Larry Fine

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Lionel Messi blasted a penalty over the bar in what looks like being his last act in international football as Chile beat Argentina in a shootout to win the Copa America for the second year in a row on Sunday.

Messi cut a dejected figure after losing his third Copa America final, and fourth major final after Argentina's loss to Germany at the 2014 World Cup, and said after the match he was retiring from the international game.

"In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it's not for me," the 29-year-old forward said.

"I tried so hard to be champion with Argentina. Now I am leaving without having managed it."

Striker Sergio Aguero, a second half substitute for Gonzalo Higuain, suggested he and other players might follow Messi's lead and quit the team.

"The likelihood is that Messi is not the only one that will leave the national team," Aguero, who lost his third final with Argentina, told Argentine sports newspaper Ole.

"There are several players like me that are evaluating whether or not to continue," said Aguero, who was hugely disappointed after Argentina failed to end their 23-year trophy drought at senior level.

"Unfortunately, the one that leaves most affected is Leo Messi after his penalty miss. This is the worst that I've seen him in the changing room," said Aguero, who along with Messi won an Olympic gold medal in 2008.   Continued...

Jun 26, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi (10) reacts during a shoot out against Chile in the championship match of the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer tournament at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports