Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano has announced his retirement from international football.
His decision to quit the Argentina national team is coming on the heels of his side’s 4-3 loss to France in the round of 16 of the World Cup on Saturday.
“This story has ended. We gave it our everything until the end,” the former Barcelona and Liverpool man told reporters after the match.
“It was a crazy match, in which we didn’t start well but we recovered and we turned it around. But their tying goal did so much damage to us.
“It cost us so much to lift ourselves up again. From this point on I will be just another fan of the Argentina national team. It is over. The illusion is shattered.”
He added: “It’s time to say goodbye and for the younger players to step in.”
Mascherano had previously said the 2018 World Cup would be his final tournament with Argentina.
The 34-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the match against France which marked his 147th appearance for his country, which is an Argentina record.
Mascherano, who has played at four World Cups, made his debut for Argentina in 2003 when he still hadn’t played professionally for River Plate.
Sadly, Mascherano is ending his illustrious time with Argentina without winning a major tournament.
His closest shot at silverware was when he helped Argentina reach the final of the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas.
Argentina reserve midfielder Lucas Biglia also announced his retirement in the postmatch news conference, telling reporters: “I am going to step aside. I’ve realised there’s no place for me any longer.”
Biglia made 57 appearances for Argentina, scoring one goal, since making his debut in a 2011 friendly against Portugal.