Five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi has reportedly decided to come out of retirement “ for the love of Argentina” to the relief of millions of football fans in the world on Saturday. A disappointed Messi had announced his international retirement after missing a penalty in the shootout defeat to Chile in the final of the Copa America Centenario in June. It was the third consecutive loss for Argentina in the final of a major tournament following defeats at the 2015 Copa America and the 2014 World Cup and a distraught Messi was seen in tears after yet another failed effort in winning a major tournament in national colors.
Social media was taken by storm after Messi’s decision to quit International football with millions of people expressing their disappointment and posting demands of Messi coming out of retirement by creating petition plans. Following Messi’s exit, senior team players Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero also quit the national team leaving the country’s national team in quite a flabbergasted condition.
Messi, who is Argentina’s all-time leading scorer with 55 goals in 113 appearances, made references to problems within the Argentine Football Association (AFA) a few days before the Copa America final. The Barcelona star had said that the AFA was “a disaster” after the team suffered delayed flights and experienced problems finding opponents for training games.
However, his short-lived retirement has come to an end as he announced that he would be playing for Argentina in the fore-coming World Cup qualifiers much to the relief of all players, their coach and the huge worldwide fan-base of Argentina alike.
“I see that there are a lot of problems in Argentina football and I don’t want to create more. I don’t want to cause harm, on the contrary, my goal was to help in any way I could. There are many things that need to be fixed in Argentine football. But I prefer to help from inside rather than stand on the outside and criticise, A lot of things ran through my head on the day of the Copa America final. And I seriously considered leaving the team. But I love my shirt and my country too much.”
– Lionel Messi
The 29 year-old superstar is the biggest footballing name on the planet right now. His rough patch during the Centanario final where he missed a penalty is the rarest thing that can happen in the career of a player of his caliber and statistical brilliance. Vindication of the loss targeted at Messi drove him into making the toughest decision of his life which was an impulse on the player’s part.
All we know is that the Argentina national team would never be the same without the magician with the captain’s armband in the middle. He might not have won any major silverware for Argentina as of yet but taking the team to three consecutive finals is no small accomplishment and with the patient support of fans and players alike, there is no doubt that he will definitely get there eventually.
After all, we are talking about the player of the century aren’t we? Here a look at why :