Cristiano Ronaldo says he was “hurt” by Lionel Messi’s tears following Argentina’s Copa America heartbreak and urged his great rival to reconsider his international retirement.
Messi’s mission to win the Copa ended in huge disappointment when Argentina lost in the final to Chile on penalties – with the Barcelona superstar missing his spot-kick in the shoot-out.
It was the fourth time Messi had tasted defeat in a major international final and he announced his retirement from international football shortly after, to the dismay of his countrymen.
Barcelona’s Messi and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo have been huge rivals for years on two fronts – their battle for supremacy in La Liga, and their annual tussle for the Ballon d’Or.
But Ronaldo, speaking ahead of Portugal’s Euro 2016 semi-final with Wales, said Messi needed international football and should consider a U-turn.
Just two days after Messi said he would never play for his country again, a statue of him was unveiled in Buenos Aires
Ronaldo told Mundo Deportivo: “Messi has taken a tough decision and people should understand.
“He is not accustomed to defeats and disappointments, not even finish the second. Missing a penalty does not make you a bad player. “It hurts to see Messi in tears and I hope he returns to his country, because he needs it.”