Javier Mascherano has confirmed his retirement from international football after Argentina were defeated 4-3 by France in a classic World Cup tie on Saturday, stating it is now time for younger players to step up to the mark.
A Kylian Mbappe double alongside Antoine Griezmann's penalty saw France through to the quarter finals by the skin of their teeth, despite Angel Di Maria's rocket, Gabriel Mercato's scrappy finish and Sergio Aguero's late header.
Mascherano, who now plays in China after leaving Barcelona in January, told reporters as quoted by ESPN: "This story has ended. We gave it our everything until the end," the former Barcelona and Liverpool man told cameras after the match.
"It was a crazy match, in which we didn't start well but we recovered and we turned it around. But their tying goal did so much damage to us.
"It cost us so much to lift ourselves up again. From this point on I will be just another fan of the Argentina national team. It is over. The illusion is shattered.
"It's time to say goodbye and for the younger players to step in.''
Lucas Biglia has announced his international retirement, while there is also uncertainty over the future of Lionel Messi at international level, with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner previously quitting Argentina duty after failing to win silverware.
The Barcelona magician could not inspire an average Argentina team to improve upon their second place finish from four years ago, despite playing an integral role in the 2-1 win against Nigeria.