Has Lionel Messi played his final match for Argentina?
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner sounded quite clear that was the case after Sunday night’s Copa America final defeat to Chile.
Messi, who was in tears after missing a penalty in the shoot-out, was utterly dejected after losing a third final in as many years.
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Some of those who know Messi - such as Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero - believe the Barcelona superstar was speaking in the heat of the moment and didn’t necessarily mean what he said.
But others, such as Diego Maradona, are a little more concerned. The football icon has joined thousands in Argentina in calling for Messi to reverse his decision.
Suarez: I'm sure Messi will change his mind
One player who knows Messi better than most is his Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.
The two South Americans have struck up an excellent relationship both on and off the pitch since Suarez arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2014.
The Uruguay international is confident that Messi will change his mind - but insists his teammate will still be remembered as the best player of all time even if he decides to stick with his shock decision.
“I’m sure that he will change his mind, but whatever he decides he will still be the best ever,” Suarez told Radio Tenfield, per Goal. “Knowing Leo, I’m sure it was said in a moment of sadness and helplessness.
“It would be a shame for football if he took this decision, but I'm sure he will reconsider and change his mind.
“It's a difficult time. Everyone has the right to make decisions and they should be respected.”
Messi has endured so much suffering at international level
If Messi sticks with his decision, it would be a crying shame for lovers of the beautiful game.
He will be 30 by the time the next World Cup rolls around and potentially at the peak of his powers.
But so much heartache at international level has clearly taken its toll on the world-class forward, who may feel that this degree of suffering is too unbearable to experience again in the future.
Will Lionel Messi reverse his decision to retire? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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