It’s common knowledge for those that were following the tournament that the finals were a heart-breaking loss for Argentina. Decided in penalty kicks, the world’s greatest and five-time Balon d’Or winner beat the keeper and beat the post helping to seal a victory for Chile.
Following the match Messi announced his retirement from International football. An emotional response to a shock loss, a fate lived over too many times for the star. His ability to win relentlessly with Barcelona has always contrasted sharply with his mortality when he donned the blue and white stripes.
And still, his numbers are stronger than ever. Since the loss more Messi product and content has been looked at, searched, read, and shared than in weeks. The believers in Messi’s greatness are not turning on the star, but hurting with him.
Messi, as it’s easy to forget, is man who has made a living out of his boyhood dream. He’s not a robot, he’s not an alien– he’s an athlete that’s battled for the national squad 113 times–scoring 55 goals, and still never bringing home a major international trophy.
He’s discouraged, he’s beat-down, and he was up-front in his press conference:
‘For me, the national team is over.’
‘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.’
Lionel Messi has always sought to establish himself as a regular person, disregarding the media baited rivalry between himself and Cristiano Ronaldo, dismissing it as, ‘Just a thing that people say.’
We may not like it, as we always want sports idols to put on a tough face, but Messi’s reaction to a fourth finals loss is utterly human. He’s been heckled for years about his inability to bring a major championship home to Argentina, by no less than hero-turned-buffoon Diego Maradona–as if soccer is a completely individual sport.
Speculation is mounting that Messi will go back on his decision considering at the time of the next world cup Messi will be only thirty with plenty left to contribute to the team.
Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero may have put it best when he said,
‘I can’t imagine a national team without Messi.’
Neither can we, not yet anyway.