Brazil’s 1994 and 2002 World Cup winner, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima has told Chinese news outlet Xinhua news that Lionel Messi's decision to retire from international football has left football feeling "abandoned".
According to the Brazil legend, Lionel Messi's decision to quit the national team following Argentina’s Copa America Centenario final loss to Chile on penalties is a letdown to football.
After a pulsating 120 minutes of football in which neither side scored, Messi looked dejected after the game in which he missed Argentina's first penalty of the shoot-outs and eventually announced his international retirement to reporters while leaving the stadium.
Ronaldo urged football fans to respect Messi's decision, but admitted he hopes that he changes his mind.
He told reporters: "It is an extremely personal choice of Messi and we have to respect … We all feel abandoned by Messi, and hope he can change his decision."
Ronaldo who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as Inter and AC Milan, however had some harsh words for Brazil's lackluster performance at the tournament, in which they failed to make the knockout stages.
He said the Seleção can no longer be considered one of football's best after their performance.
Ronaldo lamented: "Brazil played badly in the Copa America this year, with wrong plans and [player] choices."
He said Brazil is now very far from the best even in South America.