Finally! Messi mobbed by Argentina teammates as they beat Brazil to end long wait for Copa America title (VIDEO)
11 Jul, 2021 04:08 / Updated 4 hours ago
Messi and Argentina finally won the Copa America title. © Reuters / Twitter @CopaAmerica
An emotional Lionel Messi sank to his knees before being mobbed by his teammates as Argentina ended their long wait for a major title by beating Brazil in the Copa America final.
After losing four Copa America finals since their last triumph in South America’s showpiece tournament – including three finals involving Messi – Argentina were finally crowned continental champions as Angel Di Maria’s wonderful first-half lob was enough to give them a 1-0 victory over Brazil at the Maracana.
Argentina captain Messi had a quiet game by his lofty standards and missed a late chance to wrap up the game, but dropped to his knees on the final whistle before being smothered by his teammates.
The title is Argentina’s first since their Copa America triumph in 1993 and their 15th Copa America in total – a joint record with Uruguay.
La Abliceleste lost back-to-back finals against Chile on penalties in 2015 and 2016 as well as suffering defeats against Brazil in 2004 and 2007, but now finally have their hands on the famous old trophy again.
Argentina's title in front of empty stands at the Maracana caps a controversial tournament which was moved to Brazil after initial co-hosts Argentina and Colombia were stripped of the hosting rights due to the Covid-19 situation and political unrest respectively.
Brazil was a contentious choice considering the nation's own coronavirus and political turmoil, but the event went ahead despite widespread protest and reported doubts among the Brazilian players themselves.
The hosts were ultimately unable to defend their title, despite piling on the pressure in the second half and ending with five strikers on the pitch.
Messi had a subdued game by his stellar standards, although Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni later revealed that the star had been playing with a hamstring problem in the semi-final and final.
Messi still ended the competition with four goals and five assists and was named joint player of the tournament with Brazilian ace Neymar.
"What a beautiful madness! This is amazing, thank you god!" Messi wrote in an Instagram post with an image of himself alongside the trophy.
Speaking to the media, Messi said his past agonies with Argentina had now been soothed.
“I was sad before, but I knew that at some point it was going to happen,” Messi said.
“I feel that God was saving this moment for me, against Brazil in a final and in their country.”