President, Maradona urge Messi to stay with Argentina
Lionel Messi with Diego Maradona.
Argentina president Mauricio Macri has personally contacted star striker Lionel Messi and urged him not to call it quits to the national team.
The 29-year-old Messi announced his retirement from the international football 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.
Macri said that he was really proud of the national team's performance and requested the Barcelona star not to listen to the criticism.
The Argentina president also took to micro blogging website Twitter, asking Messi not to leave the team.
"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 tweeted.
Meanwhile, Legendary Argentina footballer Diego Maradona also appealed the Barcelona talisman to reconsider his retirement plans for the national team's benefit.
"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," Maradona said.
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 that, "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.