Superstar Lionel Messi has finally won a major tournament with his country – Argentina after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Brazil at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro to win the 2021 Copa América.
Lionel Messi went on to win the best player award of the tournament and the golden boot for scoring the most goals in the tournament.
Lionel Messi who contributed to nine of Argentina’s 12 goals inspired the Argentina team to win the 2021 Copa America, putting an end to his International Trophy drought which many considered as one of his lows when compared to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Argentina had last tasted success at a major tournament in 1993 when the great Gabriel Batistuta’s brace gave them a 2-1 win over Mexico in the Copa final in Ecuador.
It was the first time in six editions playing at home that Brazil had failed to lift the trophy.
And while 34-year-old Messi’s odyssey has come to an end, Brazil’s Neymar, five years his junior, is still without a major title at international level having missed the Selecao’s win on home soil two years ago through injury.
Argentina edged a brutal and fractious affair thanks to Di Maria’s goal on 22 minutes.
The 33-year-old winger ran onto Rodrigo De Paul’s sumptuous through ball to lob Brazil goalkeeper Ederson with a first time finish.
Messi had a giant chance one-on-one with Ederson after a fantastic through ball by Rodrigo De Paul but missed it, and Martínez needed to make a monster save to stop Gabigol from scoring the equalizer.
Argentina played with aggression and commitment, but no lack of quality with Di Maria tormenting Brazil’s left back Renan Lodi, who probably should have cut out De Paul’s pass for the winger’s goal.
Injury time was all about Argentina running out the clock, and they did it successfully. The final whistle came, and so did the tears on Lionel Messi’s face. He has finally done it for his nation, and he caps one of the greatest individual tournament performances in history with a trophy he has long deserved.