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For Messi, retiring is a nonverbal apology

Copa America

Ramos: Messi picks worst time to "retire"

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi show national pride amid differing fortunes

Both their summers ended in tears. Lionel Messi, devastated after losing to Chile in the Copa America Centenario, his third straight loss in an international final; Cristiano Ronaldo, stretchered off the field in the 25th minute of the Euro 2016 final, only to see his agony turn to tears of joy as Portugal defeated France to lift the trophy.

Portugal's success and Argentina's defeat means that Ronaldo now looks likely to take back that Ballon D'Or from Messi. He has achieved the one thing that...

Ronaldo beats Cristiano Ronaldo in modern era's most vital scorers

It is around the late stages of a tournament when you hear the football truisms: "It doesn't matter how you got there," "The results don't record performance." What matters -- the only thing that matters -- is that you pick up the trophy at the end, or so the argument goes. But there is one tournament award in which this argument isn't so straight forward: the Golden Boot.

At the 1994 World Cup, for example, both Hristo Stoichkov and Oleg Salenko won the Golden Boot. But did their six strikes apiece...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FC Talking Points: Euro predictions, Bale vs. Ronaldo, Man Utd transfers

Football always inspires debate, and this weekend was no exception. Here are five burning questions -- have your say!

Vote and comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag #FCtalkingpoints.

The semifinals are set at Euro 2016, with Wales set to face Portugal on Wednesday, July 6, and Germany playing France on Thursday, July 7 (both at 9 p.m. CEST/3 p.m. ET on ESPN). 

The coaches and players will say Portugal-Wales is not all about Cristiano Ronaldo against Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale,...

 By Sam Kelly

Lionel Messi's apparent retirement caused by Argentina FA in chaos

At around midday on Monday, the offices of the Asociacion de Futbol Argentino (AFA) received an anonymous phone call to inform them that there was a bomb in the building. The identity of the caller is still as yet unknown but such a chaotic scene was entirely in keeping with the situation within the institution over the past few weeks and months, a situation that, until the bomb threat, seemed to reach its most dramatic head with the apparent international resignation of Lionel Messi after Sunday...

Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi: Whose international career is better?

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: you can't have a debate about their greatness without comparing them to each other. Much like the Joker and Batman, polar opposites who are defined in each other's image, we've come to assess Messi and Ronaldo against each other, not in a vacuum but as a tandem. It's the privilege and curse that comes with being the two best players on the planet right now.

We were reminded of this dynamic at the start of Euro 2016, when Iceland defender Kari Arnason pointedly...

Euro and Copa America remind us why international football stirs emotions

With Argentina's Lionel Messi announcing his retirement from the international game, we all can't quite help but ask, what if?

PARIS -- Every two years or so, particularly those of us who live in Europe and whose teams pretty much take qualifying for a World Cup or continental championship for granted, awake from our club-induced torpor to take notice of our national sides.

Outside of that, for most, it's all about the club game. We don't sit and agonize over who might be called up for that friendly against Lithuania in two months' time. We don't worry about whether 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 is the way forward. In fact, when we...