Just after Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football, two Argentinian stars, striker Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) and midfield stalwart, Javier Mascherano (FC Barcelona) have both announced they are retiring from the international stage too.
In what has been described as a monumental day for the Argentine football team who lost the Copa America final to Chile on Sunday night, an incredible domino effect for Argentinian stars resigning from the Argentine international team has been triggered.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi was the first to go after his miss in the penalty shootout, emotionally bidding farewell to the international scene after another high-profile failure which left his team losing their third final in three years.
And now Mascherano and Aguero have also followed suit, with reports in Argentina suggesting that Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuain and Lucas Biglia could all be poised to hang up their Argentine boots too.
The exodus comes after a harrowing defeat on penalties yet again, with Chile holding their nerves to secure a second straight Copa America.
This made it the second successive year Chile had beaten Argentina on penalties in the final. Last year’s Copa America title was their first. The 29-year old Messi, who was in tears after the match, spoke after the game to Argentine television and explained his decision.
“That’s it. It’s over for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s four finals. The decision has been made, I think so.
“[Winning] is what I wanted most. It didn’t come. I think that’s it. That’s how I feel now, what I think. It’s a great sadness. It hurts not to be a champion.”
Speaking after the game, Sergio Aguero said:
“There are several players who are evaluating not continuing with the national team.”
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Aguero continued: “Messi probably won’t be the only player to leave the national team, this is the worst locker room I’ve ever been in, worse than the final in the World Cup in Brazil and the other Copa America.”