Lionel Messi shocked football fans and experts around the world, announcing his immediate retirement from international football after Argentina's loss to Chile in Copa America 2016 final on Sunday. It is heart-breaking for Argentina fans, who will not be able to see one of their best players ever to play for the national side, but there is still hope as long as the Argentina Football Federation sorts its relationship out with its players.
Messi, who had never missed a penalty in a shootout, hit his country's first spotkick over the crossbar, and Argentina later lost the final as well. Diego Maradona is among those who have asked Messi to reconsider his decision, so that he can go on to start for Argentina in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and finally break the final hoodoo.
Not only did Messi retire, but his Barcelona team mate, Javier Mascherano also called it quits after the final. Things looked even more disastrous for Argentina as striker Sergio Aguero also fuelled speculation stating some other national players may follow Messi into retirement. After Messi and Mascherano's retirement, Argentina cannot afford to miss players like Aguero as well, especially with the all-important World Cup qualifiers, which will resume in September, to come.
Relationship between the players and Argentina Football Association does not seem to be on the right track. Messi was one of those players, who was disappointed with the AFA, calling the body 'a disaster', after their flight got delayed, on Instagram.
Messi might have a number of records and trophies to his name, but he still has not won silverware with Argentina. Will he come back from retirement and give it one last shot to win a major competition for Argentina? Only time will tell.