On this day in 2016, Lionel Messi retired from international football

Lionel Messi is currently in the hunt for his first international trophy with Argentina.

A 2-0 win over Qatar in Argentina’s final group game secured their place in the quarter-final, with a clash against Venezuela to come on Saturday.

For Messi, who turned 32 this week, time to win an international honour is running out.

At it’s not just time that isn’t on his side. Argentina just aren’t the team that they used to be and have a very mediocre squad.

Still, every team that has reached the last eight will be eyeing glory.

And Argentina will be led by a Messi who is desperate to win something with his country.

The Barcelona star has lost four major international finals – three Copa Americas, in 2007, 2015 and 2016, and the 2014 World Cup – and has never failed to hide his disappointment.

Messi’s brief retirement

In fact, it’s three years to the day that Messi announced his retirement from international football following Argentina’s defeat in the 2016 Copa America final.

Argentina were beaten on penalties, with Messi missing their first.

He was left in tears as Chile celebrated their victory and duly set about announcing his retirement.

“For me, the national team is over,” he said, per BBC Sport. “I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.”

Messi, who made his international debut in 2005, added: “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.

“I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, 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.”

Messi was highly emotional when he made his comments. They did, after all, come in the wake of a hugely distressing defeat.

And he reversed his decision to give up with Argentina, with confirmation of his return coming less than two months after the Chile defeat.

“We need to fix many things in Argentinian football, but I prefer to do this from inside and not criticise from outside,” the forward said, per the Independent.

“Many things went through my head the day of the last final and I seriously thought of leaving, but I love this country and this shirt too much.

“I’m grateful to all the people who wanted me to continue playing with Argentina, hopefully we can give them something to cheer about soon.”

We’ll have to see how the ongoing Copa America pans out to see whether it was all worth it.

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