LONDON: : Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly revealed that he was ‘hurt’ to see his arch rival Lionel Messi in tears following the Copa America loss but expressed hope that his Argentine counterpart will reconsider his international retirement.
The Barcelona talisman shocked the football world by announcing his international retirement after Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa America Centenario final last month.
This was the fourth time Messi has tasted defeat in a major tournament final. Apart from losing three Copa America finals (2007, 2015, 2016), the Messi-led Argentina were also beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.
Following the 4-2 loss on penalties, a visibly distraught Messi said that it hurts not to be a champion despite reaching four finals, adding that "the national team is over for me."
In an interview to a Spanish newspaper, the Real Madrid forward requested people to understand Messi’s “tough decision” while pointing out that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was not “accustomed to defeats and disappointments, not even finish the second”, the Mirror reported.
Messi and Ronaldo have been fiercely competing for years for their respective side’s supremacy in La Liga and their annual tussle for Ballon d’Or, the award given to world’s best male player.
The Portuguese international, who is leading his side at the Euro 2016, also said missing a penalty doesn’t make one a bad player, referring Messi’s missed penalty in the pulsating finale.