Lionel Messi’s decision to retire from international football hasn’t exactly gone down too well.
The Barcelona superstar made the shock decision after his Argentine side lost on penalties to Chile in the final of Copa America.
Messi was clearly devastated after the final whistle, and who could blame him? It was his, and Argentina’s, third final defeat in as many years and, to make things worse, his awful penalty in the shootout contributed to the defeat.
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After the match, in an interview with Argentine TV, he said: “That's it. It's over for me with the national team.
“It's not for me. That's four finals. The decision has been made, I think so. [Winning] is what I wanted most. It didn't come. I think that's it. That's how I feel now, what I think. It's a great sadness. It hurts not to be a champion.”
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But people weren’t going to allow Messi to make such a decision without putting up a fight. At the age of just 29, Messi still has plenty of years playing at the top level and many are desperate for him to remain for the Russia World Cup in two years time, at least.
In fact, Argentina fans are so distraught with the news that they are planning a demonstration in an attempt to make Messi rethink his decision. That’s according to Mundo Deportivo who claim that this Saturday, more than 50,000 people will meet in Buenos Aires as they try and change Messi’s mind.
One man that could well join the demonstration in Argentina is Diego Maradona. The legendary footballer urged Messi to reconsider his international retirement by writing on Facebook: “Lio must go on in the national team. Because he has a lot to give, and he will come to Russia in conditions to become world champion.
“I would like to talk with him. They left him alone. And I do not want to leave him alone.”
It’s no surprise that the Argentina fans want to see Messi represent their country a few more times yet. Although the tournament ended bitterly disappointingly for Messi, we can’t forget that he became Argentina’s record goal scorer with a sensational free-kick against the USA in the semi-finals meaning he ‘ends’ his international career with 55 goals from 113 appearances.