Is Lionel Messi Done Making Magic For Argentina?
"The Little Magician" is done waving his wand, and done waving his flag for the Argentinian national team. It's the end of an era for an entire nation.
After Argentina's heartbreaking loss to Chile in the Copa América, Lionel Messi decided to hang up his cleats and his colors. He retires as the greatest goal scorer in Argentina's history, but he had to leave without the one thing he wanted.
Messi desperately desired to bring his country a World Cup or the Copa América, but in both cases, he was inches away from achieving his ultimate goal. Germany sucked the life out of his World Cup dream, and Chile crushed him with penalty kicks in his last attempt at reaching gold.
After the loss, Messi told reporters in the locker room his quest for a cup was over.
"My thinking right now and thinking about it in the locker room, I'm done playing with the national team," Messi said. He added, "I tried my hardest. It's been four finals, and I was not able to win. I tried everything possible. It hurts me more than anyone, but it is evident that this is not for me. I want more than anyone to win a title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen."
Can you feel his pain seeping through the quote? After years of trying to deliver for his country, the 29-year old sounds defeated.
Even though he is disappointed, he provided some of the most incredible moments in international futbol history.
His 55 career goals in international play put him at the top of Argentina's all-time scoring list, and he secured his place in history in style.
Part of me sincerely hopes he was just overreacting to the loss to Chile. It was a game decided by penalty kicks, which means he was close enough to the Copa América to envision it in his hands. Having that ripped away is painful, but is he really ready to walk away from his country before turning 30?
The next World Cup is in 2018, and Messi will only be 31 years old. Even if his physical skills diminish, he will still be one of the best players in the world with his vision, dribbling and passing ability.
Fans in Argentina keep telling him, "Don't Go Leo," and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri is convinced Messi is a gift from above.
"We are lucky, it is one of life's pleasures, it is a gift from God to have the best player in the world in a footballing country like ours," Macri said in a news conference. "Lionel Messi is the greatest thing we have in Argentina and we must take care of him."
It doesn't sound like the country is ready to let go, but Messi sounds like he truly intends to hang it up. He's been carrying an incredible weight on his shoulders for years, and he's ready to give the responsibility to somebody else.
I agree with the citizens of Argentina. Don't go, Leo. I always loved magic, and I'm not done seeing "The Little Magician" pull his tricks and illusions on the pitch.