France striker Antoine Griezmann has described Lionel Messi’s decision to retire from international football as “frustrating and sad”.
Messi announced that Argentina’s Copa America Centenario final penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile on Sunday would be his last appearance for his country.
The decision brings an end to a disappointing international career for Messi, whose only honour for Argentina came in the form of a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in China.
Griezmann and Messi have been rivals at club level in recent seasons, and the Frenchman was only four goals behind the Barcelona star in La Liga’s goal table with his 22 strikes for Atletico Madrid last season.
Of Messi’s decision, Griezmann said: “He must have his reasons. I think he lost three or four finals.
“It’s frustrating, it’s sad. It must be difficult for him. May be it’s just an immediate reaction but after that, we must accept it.
“He’s a great player who did everything for his country. He has not had the chance to win a cup with his country, unfortunately.”
Griezmann helped France maintain their own challenge for silverware by scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016.
The 25-year-old has emerged as the talisman for Didier Deschamps’ side but he insists he is not feeling the kind of pressure that Messi experienced with Argentina.
He said: “At Atletico too, they say that I’m the leader [of the attack]. I went to the final of the Champions League, and I scored 32 goals. This pressure does not weigh too much.
“I’m on the field to have fun and give pleasure to the fans.”