Siliguri: Describing Lionel Messi’s retirement as ‘unfortunate’, former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia on Monday expressed hope that the Argentina talisman will reconsider his decision and continue to represent his nation at the international level.
Messi, 29, was clearly left inconsolable on the pitch after missing his spot-kick in the decisive shootout as Argentina once again lost to Chile for a second straight year in the Copa America final at Met Life Stadium, the United States on Sunday.
“Messi’s retirement is very unfortunate. I think it was taken more on emotional level. I am sure that he will review it and I hope Argentina fans, the President of Argentina and especially Diego Maradona could come forward and request him not to retire. I don’t think 29 is the right age to retire and hopefully he will take a decision and comeback to play international football,” Bhutia told ANI.
Bhutia, who has played 104 matches for India, believes the retirement of the Barcelona star was not only a great loss for Argentina but also for world football.
Following the 4-2 loss on penalties, a visibly distraught Messi said that it hurts not to be a champion despite reaching four finals before adding “The national team is over for me.”
Despite winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Barcelona, Messi’s only major international honour is Olympic gold at the 2008 Games.
In addition to losing three Copa America finals (2007, 2015, 2016), Messi’s Argentina were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.