“It’s tough, it’s not the time for analysis. In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important. I tried so hard to be champion with Argentina. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it.”
I am currently covering Euro 2016, but I had an eye on the Copa America. I was not going to feature another topic on the blog, but waking up to the terrible news of Leo’s retirement this morning prompted me to write this post.
Lionel Messi has had it with Argentina. He had it with the boos, the pain, the misery, the failing at finals, and the heartbreaks that always follow. He’s also had it with trying to live up to Diego Maradona’s height. I can understand this. I can understand what it means for the confidence of a man to be shaken. When you have given your all, your best, and you get the same result over and over again at the end and you feel useless. I can understand what it means to be frustrated with having a great tournament and not winning the final, but one must NEVER GIVE UP.
Look at Edinson Cavani. He screwed up mightily when the team needed him on the big stage, but he chose to stick it out with Uruguay. There were moments when he felt like crying, but he held it in and offered the world one of his brilliant smiles. Social media was not kind to him when Uruguay crashed out of the Copa America tournament, but Cavani didn’t quit in the heat of the moment.
Javier Mascherano is also set to retire after losing five finals. Aguero will most likely follow. But it’s not too late, Messi (and company). Just give the World Cup one more shot. You’re stronger and better than this. Quitting shouldn’t be a word in your dictionary. Maybe you’re inconsolable right now and maybe this was spoken in the heat of the heartbreaking moment, but football is your passion and you value Argentina above everything else. Give it one more chance, Leo, then you can retire knowing that you’ve given everything.
Don’t walk away like this even if Higuain is a bottler in finals, even if Argentina doesn’t deserve you. You’ve had many rotten eggs, but don’t let this latest rotten egg put you off from wearing your shirt with pride and honor.
But like I said, I do understand. Leo is accepting that Argentina glory is beyond him and it’s time to make way for new players. He made a harsh decision and we have to accept it in the end. He is broken-hearted and he needs some time to heal.
Waiting for an official statement from Leo though.