Chile’s Copa America-winning goalkeeper Claudio Bravo hopes Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi rethinks his decision to retire from international football and continues playing for Argentina.
Emotional captain Messi stunned the football world after Argentina’s 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss to Chile in Sunday’s Copa America Centenario final, announcing his intention to walk away from national team duty.
Messi – the country’s all-time leading goalscorer – was in tears post-match following his unsuccessful spot-kick, which led to a third consecutive final defeat for Argentina.
But Bravo, who plays alongside the five-time Ballon d’Or winner at Camp Nou, is holding onto hope that the 29-year-old will add to his 113 caps.
“For me Messi is the best player in the world,” said Bravo, who claimed the centenary tournament’s Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper.
“We know too well the quality of person he is. I’ll take the best player in the world.
“I hope he continues playing for Argentina many years.”
Tenacious Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal was also asked about Messi’s bombshell after celebrating back-to-back Copa America titles.
Vidal, however, was far more conservative, insisting Messi has his reasons for taking such action amid reports of unrest within the Argentina Football Association (AFA).
“It is too bad for Messi to leave the team but he will have his reasons and is very difficult to talk about this issue,” the Bayern Munich star added.