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The decision was an emotional one, says Bhaichung Bhutia on Lionel Messi's retirement

Joy Tirkey | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Lionel Messi announced his unexpected retirement on 27 June after Argentina suffered a devastating loss at the hands of the defending champion Chile, 4-2 on penalties.

"In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it's not for me. That's the way I feel right now, it's a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important."

"I tried so hard to be champion with Argentina. But it didn't happen. I couldn't do it. I think it's best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision. I tried many times to be a champion but did not."

While Messi fans mourned over his retirement, Indian footballing ace Bhaichung Bhutia thinks that this was an emotional decision and he will rethink it.

Catch spoke to Bhutia to better understand the impact of Messi's retirement over his fans and his last picture before retirement.

Excerpts from the interview:

Were you expecting Lionel Messi to announce his retirement?

To be honest, I watched the match live and did not expect Argentina to lose. I thought at least this time Argentina will win it or have an opportunity to win it, but Argentina did not. And obviously, the biggest surprise was Messi's retirement. Nobody in the world expected Messi to retire after the loss that Argentina suffered.

It was definitely a very emotional announcement and I'm hoping, for the sake of football, that he doesn't quit international football. I hope he will rethink his decision and come back.

This is a big loss not only for Argentina but the world of football as well. He is the hero of so many budding footballers. People watch football only for him. And this is definitely a huge loss to the football fraternity.

Do you think Messi took the correct step?

I don't think it's a correct step for him. Thrice Argentina came close to winning a major tournament - 2014 World Cup, 2015 Copa America and 2016 Copa America. I don't think that a great player like him should give up so easily.

Messi is bigger than just missing the penalty and calling his career off.

I think he should come back because people remember the last thing that you do on-field, and a great player like Messi doesn't deserve a memory like this. I think people would not want to remember him by the missed penalty.

Messi has represented Argentina in all the major finals. Do you think the pressure got to him each time?

It has nothing to do with pressure, it was an emotional thing. Retirement is nothing about his pressure or the game that one plays. His game was wonderful in the previous edition of Copa and as well as this edition. It was in the previous edition of Copa, that he was awarded the Man of the Tournament award.

So, there are times when you perform and still don't win the title. He was very, very good with the game. The fact that he hasn't won doesn't mean that he hasn't performed well. There are matches you win and loose. It was nothing but emotion.

First published: 27 June 2016, 7:45 IST