Lionel Messi Retirement: World’s greatest player or world’s greatest choker

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Another final of a major tournament has been played in which Argentina has been a part, and it is another time that they have lost. Copa America 2016 ends with Argentina losing out once again on penalties to Chile, the repeat of last year’s tournament final. Lionel Messi was seen looking dejected on the sidelines as he endured his third defeat in three consecutive major tournament final appearances for his national team.

Right after the match ended, Messi announced his retirement from international football. This is a decision which many suspect could have been taken in the heat of the moment, but nonetheless, the Argentine has left the international stage with nothing impressive to offer on the trophy front.

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Lionel Messi is no doubt the best player this generation has ever seen. We have seen him doing magical stuff for his club Barcelona, winning magnitude of trophies along the way. Time and again, Messi has shown his talent of single-handedly winning matches for his team. However, the same cannot be said for his Argentina endeavors where he has struggled to meet the huge expectations of the people.

Messi has appeared in four major tournament finals for Argentina in his career, the World Cup 2014, the Copa America 2007, 2015 and 2016. However, he has failed to stamp his authority in any of the four finals. He has been on the receiving end of defeat, first to Brazil in 2007, second to Germany in 2014 and twice to Chile in 2015 and 2016.

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We all know that football is a team sport and Messi cannot be given all the blame for his team’s defeat, but it also has to be noted that all the legends of the game achieved these feats on their own accord and went across the finishing line when it mattered the most. Pele did it in 1962 and 1970 World Cups, Diego Maradona did it in 1986 and Zinedine Zidane in 1998. Messi’s name could be tagged along these greats in terms of his talent and skills on the ball, but not in terms of what he has achieved with his national team.

History remembers the winners and not the ones who come second best. Messi may be remembered as one of the most unlucky talents to have never won a major tournament after appearing four times in the finals.

Despite being tagged by many as the greatest player in the world, Messi will also be known as the world’s greatest choker, who failed to deliver when it mattered the most in international football.

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