By Lewis Gould
Argentina may have seen the last of Lionel Messi after last night’s 4-2 shootout loss to Chile in the Copa America final at the Meadowlands.
Argentina and Chile had played 120 minutes of scoreless soccer on at MetLife Stadium.
Up stepped Messi, widely regarded as the best player in the world, to take the first shot for Argentina, and he missed, sending the ball sailing over the crossbar and into the crowd. Moments later, he watched as Francisco Silva of Chile buried a shot inside the left post to give his team a 4-2 shootout win.
All of the Argentine players hung their heads near the center circle as the Chileans erupted in celebration. But Messi took a slow, solitary walk across the grass and took a seat on the far end of his team’s bench. He stared at the grass as the Chilean players bobbed up and down in celebration. When he got up again, there were tears in his eyes.
The emotions boiled over, and they carried to the locker room. When Messi, 29, re-emerged, he suggested, shockingly, that his national team career was over.
“In the locker room, I thought that the national team was finished for me, that it’s not for me,” Messi said. “It’s what I feel right now. It’s a great sadness that it happened to me, that I missed penalty kick that was very important. It’s for the good of everybody. It’s not enough to just get to the final and not win.”