Lionel Messi endured what might have been the worst night of his entire career on Sunday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner suffered yet another gut-wrenching final with Argentina - his third in as many years, following the disappointments at the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America - this time against Chile in the special centenary edition of the Copa America.
Messi not only missed a penalty in the shoot-out but was also booked in the first half for a cynical dive. (Scroll down this page to watch the video).
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The Barcelona superstar went around José Fuenzalida and appeared to deliberately attempt to deceive Heber Lopes, the Brazilian referee in charge of the match.
However, Lopes wasn’t convinced that any contact had been made and subsequently brandished the yellow card in Messi’s direction.
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Video: Messi's dive v Chile
Messi heartbroken after defeat
Messi has a reputation for staying on his feet but it’s possible the occasion may have got to him at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The 29-year-old was desperate to win his first major title with Argentina - not including the 2008 Olympic gold medal he won in Beijing - and was visibly heartbroken following his team’s defeat on penalties.
Indeed, so demoralised was Messi after the loss that he swiftly announced his decision to quit international football.
"It's been four finals, I tried,” Messi was quoted as saying BBC Sport, the fourth final being the 2007 Copa America. “It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over," he added.
"I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, and then for everyone. 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.
"It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back."
No guarantee Messi will reverse his decision
Football fans everywhere will be hoping that Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, will reverse his decision in time for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
But there’s no guarantee that will happen.
Will Messi want to put himself through yet more heartache in the future?
Is Lionel Messi right to quit international football? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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