Football

Lionel Messi retired..

Argentina's president tries to stop Lionel Messi retiring

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If you think England is in a state of shock over its national football team, take some time to consider how Argentina are feeling.

While England have once again failed to make an impact at a major tournament, Argentina have made it to three finals in as many years – and lost every single one of them.

Their latest defeat came in the Copa America after Chile beat them 4-2 on penalties, just as they did in the 2015 version. It was too much to take for Lionel Messi, who missed his spot-kick in the shootout.

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"That's it. My time with the national team is over," he said after the game in a statement that was in no way prepared in the way that Roy Hodgson's was.

Indeed, many have already theorised that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was simply speaking with a broken heart and, given time to heal, will probably continue adding to his 113 international caps.

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Diplomatic influence

And it seems the will of Argentina is well and truly behind getting Messi back into a blue and white shirt in time for the resumption of World Cup qualifying in September. By jingo, even the president is on the case, at least according to The Mirror.

Mauricio Macri has reportedly put aside diplomatic issues to try to coax the Barcelona star out of retirement even though he has had less than 48 hours to process what he said to the world's media. Macri contacted Messi, joining a nationwide effort that has extended to Buenos Aires' underground train network.

COLOMBIA-ARGENTINA-SANTOS-MACRI

A social media campaign #NoTeVayasLio ("don't go, Lio") and underground stations across the capital city displayed the message on their noticeboards.

Subway

Devastated

But while he must appreciate the country's efforts, Messi will need more time before coming to a more formal decision. Sunday's defeat was the fourth he has suffered in an international final, leaving him with just a World Cup loser's medal to show for the seven major tournaments he has played at.

Sergio Aguero, who suggested he was also considering his international future, said Messi was the worst he had ever seen him after the final whistle. Considering the pair grew up together, you can assume Aguero knows better than most.

"We are all s****y, we are trying to think about other things and continue on forward," said Aguero.

"But it's hard. Once again luck has gone against us.

"Unfortunately, the most broken one is Messi for his missed penalty. It is the worst I have ever seen him in the dressing rooms after a game."

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Topics:
Football
Lionel Messi
Sergio Aguero
Barcelona
Argentina Football

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