He had to wait a long time, but last night Lionel Messi saw a long-cherished wish come true. With the victory in the final of the Copa América against arch-rival Brazil (1-0), the star player of FC Barcelona finally took his first major trophy with Argentina.
After four lost finals (3x Copa América and the 2014 World Cup final), the discharge at Messi after the final whistle at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro was enormous and he let his tears run free. ,,I’ve often dreamed of this moment, but in the past it just didn’t work out. I’ve gone on vacation with my family so many times sadly. I would then pass the days without wanting anything. This time everything is different.”
“I feel indescribably happy now. Although it has yet to really sink in that we have won and are the champions. I think this is a game for the history books. Not only because we won the Copa América, but mainly because we beat Brazil at home.”
Even before the start of the tournament, Messi, who won the prizes with FC Barcelona (see box), felt that something beautiful could happen. ,,I had a lot of confidence in this group, which has only gotten stronger in recent years. We are always trying to get better and no one is complaining.”
Afterwards, national coach Lionel Scaloni was full of praise for Messi, who had already been named the best player of the tournament together with Neymar before the final. ,,You can never do without a player like him, even if he is not completely fit like in this match and the previous matches”, said Scaloni. “If you know what he’s done to be here, you’d love him even more.”
The 34-year-old Messi announced his retirement as an international several times in the past, but kept coming back to it. “We are talking about the greatest footballer of all time and everyone knew how important it was for him to win a title with the national team,” said Scaloni. “I am eternally grateful to him and his teammates.”
View the summary of the final.
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