Lionel Messi has added another feather on his cap as he lifted his first major international trophy with Argentina. They defeated Brazil in the Copa America final 1-0 at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
The 34-year-old Argentina captain finally achieved the feat after enduring much criticism about his inability to gain the same success with the national team as he has done on the club level. His teammates were clearly delighted for him, as they lifted him into the air to celebrate when the final whistle was finally blown.
While Messi was named the player of the tournament after scoring four goals, it was Paris Saint-Germain player Angel di Maria who scored the lone goal in the final. He calmly caught the ball from Rodrigo de Paul's pass and shot a precise lob over Ederson.
Defending champions Brazil were disappointed, with Neymar Jr. seen crying his heart out at the end of the match. The former Barcelona forward had his dreams smashed by PSG teammate Di Maria, and he will now have to wait longer to lift his first Copa America trophy. While Brazil won the previous edition of the tournament, it may be remembered that Neymar was absent due to injury back in 2019.
Richarlison and Gabriel Barbosa had some clear chances during the match, but they were unable to beat Argentina keeper Emi Martinez.
The reactions of former teammates Messi and Neymar were in complete contrast to one another, and it was a sight to behold for the 7,000 spectators who watched the dramatic final. The pair were clearly emotional, and they made it clear through a lengthy hug at the end of the match that they still share a strong bond after sharing the locker room at the Camp Nou between 2013 to 2017.
Neymar left Barcelona in 2017, and Messi has since been lobbying for his return, Now, there is a real chance for the pair to be reunited, but it may take place at the Parc des Princes. Messi is currently a free agent after his previous contract with the Catalan giants expired on June 30. Barcelona is still struggling to free up space in their salary cap to accommodate the Argentine, and time is running out. Paris Saint-Germain may swoop in to sign the Argentine, even though it is believed that he would prefer to extend his stay at Barcelona.
Now that the Copa America has been concluded, Messi will want to settle his domestic affairs. It remains to be seen what Joan Laporta can pull out of the bag.