Cristiano Ronaldo thinks Lionel Messi should reconsider his retirement from international play, he told Mundo Deportivo.
Though Ronaldo believes his longtime rival should continue playing, he respects his choice and urged fans to be understanding.
“Messi has taken a tough decision and people should understand,” Ronaldo said. “He is not accustomed to defeats and disappointments, not even finishing second. Missing a penalty does not make you a bad player.”
Messi’s Argentina squad lost to Chile on penalties in the final of the Copa America Centenario. Messi missed his penalty kick, contributing to the fourth international final loss he has suffered with Argentina.
Messi, 29, announced his retirement shortly after the loss, though reports since the announcement have said he plans to rejoin the international team in November for the World Cup qualifiers.
“It hurts to see Messi in tears and I hope he returns to his country, because he needs it,” Ronaldo said.
Ronaldo and Portugal will face Wales on Wednesday in a Euro 2016 semifinal.