Mascherano retires from international football following Argentina’s World Cup exit

Javier Mascherano has retired from international football after Argentina crashed out of the World Cup at the last-16 stage.

The 34-year-old has made his decision after representing his country 147 times, with his final appearance coming in Saturday’s dramatic 4-3 defeat to France.

Argentina took a 2-1 lead early in the second half but three France goals in 11 minutes resigned them to their fate.Immediately after the full-time whistle, Mascherano confirmed his decision to step away from the international game.

“It’s time to say goodbye, it’s time to support from outside,” he said.”I hope that in the future these boys can achieve something.”

Mascherano left Barcelona earlier this year and is now plying his trade with Hebei China Fortune in the Chinese Super League, where he is managed by former Wales boss Chris Coleman.

He is set to be followed out of the Argentina squad by Lionel Messi, who is poised to also announce his international retirement.

Like Mascherano, Messi’s career on the world stage is set to end without a major title to his name.

As well as losing the World Cup final four years ago, Messi has tasted defeat in the final of the Copa America on three occasions. He previously announced his retirement from international football in 2016, only to reverse his decision ahead of qualifying for this year’s World Cup.

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