After a grueling 120 minutes, the last 78 of which were played 10v10, Chile and Argentina went to penalties in a Copa America final for the second straight year. Sergio Romero gave Argentina a huge boost by saving Arturo Vidal’s shot to start things off, but then the unthinkable happened: Leo Messi missed the goal entirely. Argentina went on to lose the shootout. Again.
This marks the third consecutive year that Argentina lost a cup final and all three times it happened after 90 minutes of play. For the third year in a row, Gonzalo Higuain blew a golden chance to give his side an advantage and Chile keeper Claudio Bravo made what could be one of the greatest saves of all time in extra time.
But, right or wrong, it will be Messi who is forever associated with this match. And after Chile won, it became immediately clear that the misery of this moment — the nightmarish climax after three years of horror — is far greater than the joy of any of his accomplishments at the club level.
Jamás había visto así a Messi. pic.twitter.com/PNLERK94Bs
— MisterChip (Alexis) (@2010MisterChip) June 27, 2016
It’s difficult to think of any athlete who has concurrently experienced such extremes of success and misery that Messi has. It’s become almost biblical in its illustration of the limits of even the most talented of men.
After this, there’s a good chance Messi takes a vow of silence and aimlessly wanders the earth for the rest of his life. His beard growing as long as the tales of his cursed international career. When he shuffles by, elders will whisper to the young, “There goes Leo Messi — the footballer who could do anything but win a title for Argentina.”
UPDATE: And now Messi seems to have announced his retirement from international football (and many of his teammates are reportedly following suit). The aimless wandering is next.