Lionel Messi Retires


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Lionel Messi’s apparent last act in international football was to blast his penalty over the bar as Chile won the Copa America for the second successive year following a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Argentina on Sunday.

It was a carbon copast year’s Copa America final, also won by Chile on penalties after a goalless draw. Last year’s Copa America title was their first.

Argentina’s players meanwhile were left disconsolate as they digested a third defeat in a major final following losses to germany in 2014 world cup and chile in last years Copa America.

Messi looked a dejected figure after Argentina’s trophy drought at senior level was extended to 23 years. It was the fourth final that he has lost with his country and he said later he was retiring from international football.

“It’s tough, it’s not the time for analysis,” he said. “in the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team. It’s not for me. “I tried hard to be champion with Argentina. Now I am leaving without having managed it.”

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“It’s not easy to explain what happened,” said Argentina coach Gerardo Martino. “Argentina should have won that game. It hurts.”

The tension of the penalty shootout barely made up for a disappointing game with few memorable moments for the announced sellout 82,000 crowd.

The two sides were deadlocked  0-0 after 90 minutes and also after another half an hour of extra time in a match where both teams were reduced to 10 men in the first half.

Chilean substitute Francisco Silva paved his penalty low and to the right of Sergio Romero to score the decider after Messi and Lucas Biglia missed for Argentina. and Arturo Vidal missed for Chile.

The bulk of first half action involved referee Heber Lopes, who sent off Chile’s Marcelo Diaz on 27 minutes for a second crude challenge on Messi, before Argentina’s Marcos Rojo was given a straight red for a rough tackle on Vidal about 15 minutes later.

Three others were booked, including Messi for diving, in a first half that had as many cards as shots on goal.

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Messi, who surpassed Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s top scorer in the semi-finals against the United States, was heavily marked and had few chances to show his brilliance.

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Lionel Messi Retires

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