Lionel Messi caused mayhem when he announced his plan to quit international football in the aftermath of Argentina’s crushing loss to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final.
The Barcelona superstar said: “It’s over for me with the national team,” after suffering his fourth loss in a final for the Albiceleste.
As the world prepares to see if Messi truly meant his comment, Cristiano Ronaldo has joined the legions of people who are eager to see the 29-year-old make a reversal.
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The Real Madrid man, currently preparing for a Euro 2016 semi-final clash with Portugal, is a known admirer of Messi’s talents, despite the two being locked in a head-to-head competition every season.
And as Messi shed a tear in the wake of Argentina’s penalty shootout defeat eight days ago, Ronaldo couldn’t help but feel for the little maestro.
“He has taken a very hard decision and we have to understand him,” Ronaldo is quoted as saying by AS.
“It pains me to see him cry and I hope to see him come back to his national team because they need him.
“He's not used to losing or being disappointed, not even to finish second. Missing a penalty doesn't make you a bad player.”
Four final defeats
Messi skied his effort high and wide of the Chile goal. It was his fourth heartache in an international tournament final following the disappointments of the 2007 and 2015 Copa Americas and 2014 World Cup.
Reports in Argentina claim the 29-year-old has already reconsidered his decision but until a formal announcement is made, the football world waits with baited breath.
Even Ronaldo would love to take on Messi at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.