Five short lived sporting retirements after Lionel Messi’s swift Argentina U-turn
Lee Gormley | August 13, 2016
Five short lived retirements after Messi U-turn
Following Argentina’s 2016 Copa America final defeat at the hands of Chile this summer, skipper Lionel Messi announced his decision to retire from international football after suffering yet more tournament heartbreak.
The Barcelona superstar missed a penalty in the unsuccessful shoot-out defeat to Chile, which saw Argentina lose a fourth major final in nine years, and immediately opted to quit from the national scene.
Although, less than two months after that decision, Messi has expectedly made a U-turn and has been included in his nation’s squad for upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers. So, in light of the Argentina star’s comeback, Coral look at Messi’s and four other short lived sporting retirements…
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi stunned his nation when announcing his international retirement in June, with the Copa America loss adding to his previous 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany on Brazilian soil.
The 29-year-old’s only honour so far with Argentina was an Olympic Gold medal back in 2008, but he has now opted to reverse his retirement decision, being included in the squad which will face South American rivals Uruguay and Venezeula at the beginning of September.
“A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting, but my love for my country and this shirt is too great,” stated Argentina’s all-time record goalscorer.
“We need to fix many things in Argentinian football, but I prefer to do this from inside and not criticise from outside.”
Messi will hope to finally end his wait for a major international tournament victory after ending his short retirement, and Argentina are 10/1 fourth-favourites to reign supreme on Russian turf in 2018.
Messi wasn’t the only sporting superstar to make a retirement U-turn in 2016, with former eight-division world champion Pacquiao recently announcing that he will make a return to the ring later this year, despite earlier hanging up his gloves.
The now 37-year-old Filipino was elected to the Senate of the Philippines in May after his dominant decision victory over Timothy Bradley in April, which he initially outlined as the final ring outing of his illustrious career.
Although, ‘Pacman’ will next take on WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on November 5th, just seven months after retiring from the sport, and the Filipino legend cited money as the reasoning behind his decision.
“Boxing is my main source of income. I can’t rely on my salary as a public official,” admitted Pacquiao. “I’m helping the family of my wife and my own family, as well. Many people also come to me to ask for help.”
Pacquiao first fought back in 1995 and lost six of his 66 professional bouts, with 38 coming by knockout, and he is believed to be pursuing a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr, who clinically outpointed him in May last year, in 2017.
American swimming legend Phelps decided to quit the sport following the 2012 Olympics in London, where he won an impressive six medals, including four Golds, but the 31-year-old announced he would be returning to the water in 2014.
The Baltimore native has since gone on to become the most successful Olympian in history, following his heroics at the current 2016 Games in Brazil, having now remarkably clinched a total of 27 medals, including a record 22 Golds.
Phelps’ recent accomplishments have also seen him beat a 2,000-year-old Olympic record by surpassing the 12 individual titles claimed by Leonidas of Rhodes, who won three different foot races when competing in four successive Olympiads in 164BC, 160BC, 156BC and 152BC.
One-club footballers are a rarity in the current climate, but former Manchester United midfielder Scholes was one such legend at Old Trafford, and he originally announced his retirement from the Red Devils back in May 2011.
The former Man Utd pass-master then returned to help the side in January 2012 when Sir Alex Ferguson called upon him to reverse his decision, and he obliged by going on to feature for one more season before retiring officially in May 2013.
Scholes is regarded as one of the greatest ever Premier League players and was a pivotal part of Ferguson’s dominant Red Devils sides during the Scot’s reign, with the playmaker earning no less than 11 top-flight medals, three FA Cups and two Champions League crowns.
Floyd Mayweather Jr
Former five-division world champion Mayweather Jr is currently enjoying retirement, after ending his career last year following a comfortable victory over Andre Berto, having earlier dispatched Pacquiao in the widely dubbed ‘Fight of the Century’.
Although, the now 39-year-old has previously returned to the ring after initially quitting, having retired in 2007 following his win over Oscar De La Hoya but coming back to beat Manchester’s Ricky Hatton just seven months later.
Mayweather was then absent from the ring for two years after overcoming ‘the Hitman’ for another supposed retirement, but again came back to tackle Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez. Another comeback looks likely for arguably the greatest fighter in history, with ‘Money’ not being short of potential 50th-fight opponents.