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Three finals, three defeats for Messi, Mascherano

Lionel Messi will end his career with an international trophy, Argentina team-mate Ezequiel Lavezzi insisted after Saturday’s Copa America loss.

Messi, who has only won titles with Argentina at under-age levels, lost the third major final of his international career in Santiago, with Chile triumphing 4-1 on penalties after the visitors had dominated the goalscoring opportunities through 120 goalless minutes.

Argentina’s failure at the Estadio Nacional will only serve to strengthen arguments by critics that Messi will not be truly great until he earns silverware for his country, but Lavezzi reckons it is only a matter of time before he dismisses those doubters.

Messi was also on the losing side in the 2007 Copa America final and last year’s World Cup decider in Brazil.

“At some point Leo [Messi] is going to win something with Argentina,” said Lavezzi, who came off the bench in the first half to replace Angel di Maria.

“We thought this was an opportunity to make our mark, but unfortunately we could not. It hurts a lot. Once again we are left with a bitter taste. It hurts because we believed that this was the chance to win something.

“I think that we should continue on this path. We are all very good in terms of the group. We are just missing that little step to achieve something.”

Lavezzi was one of 10 players to have played a role in both this year’s Copa decider and the 2014 World Cup final, while only Messi and Javier Mascherano have three final losses to their name after succumbing 3-0 to Brazil in Colombia eight years ago.

Mascherano could not believe he had missed out on an international winner’s medal again.

“I cannot find a way to describe it. Hopefully, in the future Argentina can win,” the Barcelona defensive midfielder said.

“I wanted enjoyment with this shirt like anyone, but I have to suffer.

“…Three finals of the Copa America and I lost all three. I cannot find an explanation.

“I thank the fans for the support, like a year ago at the World Cup. We could not provide the joy that we wanted. It is a torture.

“It’s a great sadness, especially for us who were doing very good things.”

Messi, who was the only Argentine to convert a penalty against Chile, won an Olympic gold medal with Argentina’s under-23 team in 2008 and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup three years prior.

Sun 5 Jul, 2015
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