Lionel Messi shocked Argentina and the world at large on Sunday when he announced his retirement from international football soon after Argentina’s heartbreaking final loss.
Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile on penalties, mirroring a loss to the same side at the last tournament a year ago. Add in the 2014 World Cup final loss to Germany, and Lionel Messi felt just too overwhelmed, and decided to hang up his boots playing for his national side.
In the aftermath of the decision, a country left in shock have tried all they can to talk their best player since Maradona out of what seems like a rash decision.
A spokesman for Argentinean President Mauricio Macri told Agence France-Presse Monday that the President, a huge football fan, had personally reached out to Messi to change his mind and come back to the team.
“He [Macri] called him and told him how proud he feels of the national team’s performance and asked him not to listen to the criticism.” He told the AFP.
The President also sent out a message on twitter to the five time Ballon d’or winner.
“I never feel greater pride in our team. I hope the joy of seeing the best in the world will continue for many years more. #NoTeVayasLio.” he wrote.
Argentinean football legend, Diego Armando Maradona, the precursor to Messi in so many ways, also called on him to change his mind.
“Messi has to stay in the national team. He will go to Russia in form to be world champion,” Maradona said via La Nacion.
“He has to rely more on boys who can help take the team forward and less on those who say they have to go.
“Those who are saying he should quit are doing it so that we won’t see what a disaster Argentine football has become.”
Messi missed a penalty in the cruial shootout, and was inconsolable after the final whistle. Many believe the announcement was an emotional one which he might rescind later, but the big guns are obviously not willing to take any chances.