Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria has said that if Argentina lose another final at a major tournament he will call it quits from international duty.
The 28-year-old admits he thought about retiring along with Lionel Messi earlier this summer and also considered “going to see a psychologist” after a third consecutive final defeat in as many years.
La Albiceleste lost the 2014 FIFA World Cup final to Germany before being beaten by Chile in both the 2015 and centennial 2016 edition of the Copa America.
Di Maria said he found each defeat hard to take and struggled with the same emotional battle that Messi did before his family talked him out of it. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid man said he also considered therapy.
“I did not think Lio [Messi] was coming back ever again,” Di Maria told TyC Sports. “These are the things that go through your head in moments like that, I think.
“Losing one final, that happens, but when it happens three times in a row, that is something else entirely. I thought about making the same decision, but my wife and my father were the first in stopping me. It was impossible for me to say, ‘I am leaving.’
“I wanted to go see a psychologist, but in the end I didn’t go because I knew it was something I had to figure out in my own head,” he said.
Di Maria, however, confirmed that another major loss for Argentina will see him end his international career.
El Fideo is still upset by the memory of heartache in Brazil, Chile and most recently, the United States this summer.
“If I lose another final, though, that is it. This has happened three times now, but I am optimistic for our chances now. The memories are still tough to swallow, but now I have them less frequently.
“I changed out the No. 11 shirt because that was the one I won the Olympics with [in 2008]. Now, this could be my final World Cup and I would like to have this last chance to put that number on my back.”
Di Maria has endured a less than ideal start to the season with PSG and has come in for justified criticism from the French media for his lacklustre performances so far.
He is in Lima on Wednesday with Edgardo Bauza’s men in 2018 World Cup qualifying training for matches against Peru and Paraguay this international break. He said he is confident in this edition of the Argentina squad even in the absence of Messi due to injury.
Argentina have won all three games Messi has played but have only one victory in the five games he has missed. They are currently third in the table, a point behind leaders Uruguay.
“We have no other option but to continue fighting and do the best job possible to reach another final,” he said about the Oct. 6 and 11 matches. “It isn’t easy to get to a final and then winning the title is also difficult. But we are the first to really want it and it is complicated to have to bang your head against the wall three times.”