Lionel Messi plans to retire from international football

Lionel Messi has announced his international career with Argentina is over after defeat in the Copa America final to Chile.

Lionel Messi plans to retire from international football
Image credit: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Lionel Messi has called time on his international career following Argentina's cruel defeat to Chile in the Copa America final. 

The 29-year-old missed from the spot as Chile beat Argentina 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out following a goalless 120 minutes. 

"It's not meant for me. For me the national team is over. I've done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion," Messi said after full-time. 

"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," he added.

International glory has eluded Messi

Defeat to Chile was just the latest in a long line of international disappointments for the Barcelona star.

Argentina were beaten by Germany 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final and suffered Copa America final defeats to Chile in 2015 and Brazil in 2007. 

At just 29, Lionel Messi's retirement will come as a huge blow to Argentina. 

The forward became the nation's all-time top scorer after his five goals at this year's Copa America, including a superb free-kick against USA in the semi-final. 

However, after his fourth final defeat in nine years, Messi has decided he will give up hopes of winning a major international tournament. 

Messi leads his team out for what looks to be the final time. | Image credit: Chris Szagola/LatinContent/Getty Images
Messi leads his team out for what looks to be the final time. | Image credit: Chris Szagola/LatinContent/Getty Images

Messi clarifies his decision

"I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, and then for everyone," he continued.

"I think there's a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it," said Messi.

He concluded, "It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back."

After making his debut in 2005, Lionel Messi made 113 appearances for Argentina and team-mate Sergio Romero hopes there will be more to come.

The Manchester United goalkeeper said he wishes Messi will "reflect" on his decision after speaking in a "heated" moment. 

Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero has hinted that he is also considering retirement and told South American media there "are several players who are evaluating not continuing with the national team".