Lionel Messi finally ticked the last empty box in his glittering soccer career on Saturday night, leading Argentina past host Brazil, 1-0, in the final of the Copa América in Rio de Janeiro.
Messi, 34, dropped to the ground in joy at the full-time whistle and was swiftly mobbed by his team-mates, before being hurled in the air in celebration, as he finally claimed top-level honours with his country in his 10th major tournament.
Lionel Messi Copa America 2021 Final (Image: Twitter)
He also helped end Argentina's 28-year spell since they last won the competition and was named player of the tournament after his four goals in the competition.
Angel di Maria proved the matchwinner with his superb lob, after taking down Rodrigo de Paul's lofted pass.
Messi had a chance to sig...
RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil goalkeeper Ederson makes a save during a training session at the Granja Comary training centre in Teresopolis on Thursday. — AFP
RIO DE JANEIRO: Former Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar will line up opposite each other in Saturday’s Copa America final looking to end a hoodoo that has also affected some of their countries’ greatest players.
Like Brazil’s Pele and Diego Maradona of Argentina before them, neither Messi nor Neymar has ever won the Copa.
That statistic will change for one of them in the dream final at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.
For six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, this will be his fourth Copa final and perhaps his last chance to finish on the winning side.
He’s been his team’s standout performer, as ever, scorin...
Argentina will face Colombia in the Copa America semi-finals on Tuesday; Lionel Messi scores his 76th goal for Argentina, taking him to within one goal of Pele's South American record
Lionel Messi helped fire Argentina into the Copa America semi-finals
Lionel Messi scored a free-kick and served up two assists as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 on Saturday to set themselves up for a Copa America semi-final against Colombia.
Messi missed a golden chance in the first half, but set up Rodrigo De Paul five minutes before half-time and then did the same for Lautaro Martinez five minutes from the end to give Argentina a deserved victory.
The Barcelona player then got his second free-kick of the tournament in stoppage time to round out a scoreline that was more convincing than the performa...
Lucas Paqueta (L) celebrates with team-mates Neymar Jr (C) and Richarlison after scoring for Brazil against Peru
Brazil forward Neymar said he hopes Argentina will be their opponents in the Copa America final and has no doubts that the hosts would come out on top against their fierce rivals.
Brazil beat Peru 1-0 in last night's semi-final in Rio de Janeiro thanks to a 35th-minute goal from Lucas Paqueta - his second in two games - to book their spot in Saturday's decider at the Maracana stadium.
The second semi-final between Argentina and Colombia is on Tuesday.
"I want Argentina, I am cheering them on," Neymar said with a smile. "I have friends there and in the final Brazil will win."
The last time the two sides met in a Copa America final was in 2007, when Brazil won 3-0 ...
Ecuador has yet to win a match after three draws and a loss, but Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has “maximum respect” for the team coached by his countryman Gustavo Alfaro
Argentina has Lionel Messi, history and form going for it heading into its Copa America quarterfinal against Ecuador on July 3.
Ecuador has yet to win a match after three draws and a loss, but Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has “maximum respect” for the team coached by his countryman Gustavo Alfaro.
“Ecuador is a dynamic, quick team, which could it make it hard for anyone. They have interesting players,” Scaloni said.
Argentina topped its group with three wins and one draw, and Messi in great shape. The captain scored three goals in the four games while setting a record for most Argentina caps.
Argentinian playmaker frustrated after 1-1 draw with Chile; Paraguay go top of group A following victory over Bolivia.
Messi, who turns 34 this month, said ahead of opening game that winning with his national team is 'the biggest dream' of his decorated career [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]
Lionel Messi scored a brilliant free-kick but that was not enough to earn three points for Argentina who were held 1-1 by Chile in their Copa America opener on Monday evening.
Before the game at Rio de Janeiro’s Nilton Santos Stadium started, fans were stunned by a touching tribute to Argentina football legend Diego Maradona, who died in November aged 60.Messi, who turns 34 this month, said ahead of the game that winning with his national team is “the biggest dream” of his decorated career, despite ...
Lionel Messi and Argentina played their first competitive match since November 2020, taking on Chile in the rescheduled South American World Cup qualifiers from March. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, as Lionel Messi’s 23rd-minute penalty was cancelled out by former Barcelona man Alexis Sanchez.
Messi’s goal saw him climb to second in the charts for most goals scored in the history of South American World Cup qualifiers with 23, two shy of former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez. Following the draw, Messi spoke about what it felt like to play with the national team after so long.
“It was a difficult match, as always against Chile. I’m happy with the result beyond the fact that we could not win. The dynamics of the team is good, it was not easy to come back after so much time,” Messi...
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Diego Maradona has died from a heart attack less than a month after turning 60 according to the Daily Mail
The Argentinian football legend died at home, his lawyer said, just three weeks after having surgery on a blood clot in his brain.
Maradona won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986, having knocked England out of the tournament in a match which saw him score the infamous 'Hand of God' goal and another - widely considered to be one of the greatest goals of all time.
Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time on the pitch, his life off the pitch was equally notorious - amid battles with drug and alcohol addiction.
Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez decreed three days of mourning following Maradona's death.
'You took us to the top of the world. You made us immense...