The 29-year-old missed his spot-kick, along with midfielder Lucas Biglia, and the pain of losing a fourth successive final with his country appears to have taken its toll on the Barcelona forward.
“For me the national team is over,” he said. “I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion.
“It’s been four finals, it’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.”
It is the third successive year in which Messi has lost in the final of a major tournament whilst representing his country having lost in the 2014 World Cup final against Germany and losing in back-to-back Copa America finals to Chile.
The five-time Ballon D’Or winner has often been criticised within Argentina for his performances at international level and has drawn negative comparison with Diego Maradona and his impact on the team – a factor which clearly influenced his decision.
“On top of everything, I missed the penalty kick,” he added.
“I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, and then for everyone. I think there’s a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it.”
Having also lost in the 2007 Copa America final, Messi has failed to replicate his undoubted success at club level with Barcelona onto the international stage.
Since making the announcement, fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero has also hinted that he and a number of his colleagues could follow in Messi’s footsteps including Javier Mascherano, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain.
“The likelihood is that Messi is not the only one that will leave the national team,” said Aguero, who has now lost three finals himself with Argentina.
“There are several players like me that are evaluating whether or not to continue.”