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Soccer great Lionel Messi is quitting Argentina’s national team

Reuters/Adam Hunger
By Aamna Mohdin
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Life has been good for Lionel Messi. He’s won the Ballon d’Or—given to the star considered to be the year’s best soccer player—five times, and led Barcelona to four Champions League and eight Spanish La Liga titles.

But things don’t work out quite so well when soccer’s golden boy plays for his country. His Argentina team last night lost its fourth major final in nine years, this time in the Copa América to Chile. And so the man widely considered to be world’s best soccer player—maybe even the best of all time—is retiring from the national team without having won a major trophy.

“It’s not meant for me,” Messi told the press. “”It’s been four finals, I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over. For me, the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion.”

It gets worse: Messi missed Argentina’s opening penalty in the Chile match. The pain of defeat is one that Messi knows all too well, having also recently lost the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil.

It’s been a tough year for the little Argentine. He was one of many celebrities to be named in the Panama papers and stood trial for tax fraud. But at least he retires having become Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer with 55 goals, in a perfectly executed shot during the second half of Argentina’s semi-final against the US.

Messi also has an impressive list of broken records, which includes most goals scored in Spanish history, most goals scored in Europe, and most goals scored in a single season.

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