Messi quits international football after Copa final defeat to Chile

Lionel Messi after Argetina lost Copa America 2016 to Chile

Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football minutes after Argentina lost to Chile in the Copa America final in New Jersey on Sunday.

The team captain, who made his international debut at the age of 18 in 2005, gave an emotional send-off after losing his fourth final with Argentina.

Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final by Germany before two Copa America final defeats by Chile on penalties. Messi was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.

Messi sent a penalty soaring over the bar as Chile lifted the crown for a second consecutive year by winning a penalty shootout at the Met Life Stadium.

Argentina have not won a senior international trophy in 23 years.

“It’s tough, it’s not the time for analysis,” The Guardian quotes Messi as saying.

“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 [a] champion with Argentina, but it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision. I tried many times [to be a champion] but did not.”

At club level, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies with Barcelona , but his only major honour for Argentina is an Olympic gold medal that he won in 2008.

The 29-year-old has made 112 caps for his nation.

Meanwhile Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez was awarded the Most Valuable Player award at the tournament.