Argentina have lost their third straight final at a major international competition. The South American giants lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa America Centenario final. The Chileans defeated Argentina in the Copa America final last year, following the loss against Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

The defeat has completely disheartened Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who has announced his retirement from international football. The Barcelona stalwart missed a penalty in the penalty shoot-out which ended 4 – 2 in favour of the Chileans.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has now lost four finals in the national team jersey, his first being the 2007 Copa America loss against Brazil.

“It’s been four finals, I tried,” said Messi, who made his debut for Argentina in 2005 and has won 113 caps for his country.

“It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.

“I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, then for everyone.

“I think there’s a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it.

“It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.”

It is believed that Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel di Maria, Lucas Biglia, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Ever Banega could follow the diminutive genius into retirement.

Messi is reportedly unhappy with the Argentinean FA and the abuses hurled at him by his own countrymen. The 29-year-old has stated that his decision is final and he won’t change his mind for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

However, it is not unheard of that a player comes back from retirement to take part in an international tournament. Zinedine Zidane hung up his national team shirt in 2004 but returned to the France national team for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

William Hill are offering a bet after today’s series of events. Will Lionel Messi play in the 2018 World Cup Finals?

Yes – 6/5, No – 8/13