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Is Lionel Messi Leaving Argentina's Soccer Team?

Argentina's Lionel Messi waits for trophy presentations after the Copa America Centenario championship soccer match, Sunday, June 26, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J.
Is Lionel Messi Leaving Argentina's Soccer Team?
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The Chilean national soccer team won the Copa America tournament on Sunday night in the U.S. state of New Jersey.

Chile defeated Argentina on penalty kicks after both teams played 120 minutes without scoring a goal. Chile made four penalty kicks. Argentina only made two.

It was the second straight year Chile defeated Argentina on penalty kicks to win the Copa America tournament.

Argentina’s star player, Lionel Messi, was one of the players who failed to make his penalty kick.

As the Chilean players celebrated their victory, Messi held his head in his hands and cried.

Many people say Messi is the best soccer player in the world. Perhaps, they say, he is the best ever. He is a five-time FIFA world player of the year with his club team, Barcelona.

But his career is still missing one thing: a major tournament championship.

The Argentine team lost to Germany in the finals of the 2014 World Cup. During the 2010 World Cup, the team lost to Germany in the quarterfinals.

Messi did help Argentina win a team gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. But that is not considered a major championship in men’s soccer.

After Sunday night’s game, Messi said he might quit playing for Argentina’s national team. He would, however, continue playing with Barcelona.

He told an Argentine television network, “the national team is over for me. It's been four finals, it's not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.”

Some people say Messi was only reacting to the loss, and that he will be back with the national team in time to play in the 2018 World Cup.

Messi has scored 55 goals playing with Argentina. That is the most ever by an Argentinean soccer player. He scored five goals and assisted on four others during the Copa America tournament.

Chile’s coach, Juan Antonio Pizzi, is from Argentina. After the championship game, the coach called Messi “the best player in history.”

And, for 10 hours after the game, Messi and the hashtag #NoTeVayasLio were top trending topics on Twitter. The hashtag, in Spanish, means “Do not go, Lio.”

One person from Egypt wrote: “Come back Leo. You are the best player in the all history. Don’t give up if you can do more.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English with information from Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Do you think Messi will come back and play again for Argentina? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

coach – n. the person in charge of organizing and teaching a sports team

penalty kickn. in soccer when one player kicks the ball toward the goal with only the goalie playing defense. Used to decide the winner of a game if it has ended with both teams having the same score

club – n. a sports team or organization

tournamentn. a sports competition or series of contests that involves many players or teams and that usually continues for at least several days

medal n. a piece of metal often in the form of a coin with designs and words in honor of a special event, a person, or an achievement

quit v. to leave (a job, school, career, etc.)

quarterfinalsn. one of four matches, games, or contests to decide the four people or teams that will continue playing in a competition (such as a tennis tournament