Daily US Times: Football superstar Lionel Messi ended his wait for a first major international trophy as Argentina beat Brazil in the Copa America final in Rio’s famous Maracana stadium.
At the full-time whistle, Messi dropped to the ground in joy and was swiftly mobbed by his team-mates, before being hurled in the air in celebration, as football great finally claimed top-level honours with his country in his 10th major tournament.
Lionel Messi also helped end Argentina’s 28-year spell since they last won the Copa America competition and was named player of the tournament and highest geal scorer after his four goals in the competition.
Angel di Maria scored the goal for Argentina after taking down Rodrigo de Paul’s lofted pass.
Messi had a chance to score a goal but slipped with the ball in the D box, in what would have been the perfect finale for the Argentine captain.
Defending champions Brazil were disappointing, with their only chances of note coming when Gabriel Barbosa and Richarlison forced saves from Emi Martinez.
In a contrast of emotions, Messi’s opposite number 10 – Brazilian superstar and former Barcelona team-mate Neymar sank to his knees in tears at the final whistle, as his own personal pursuit of international success continues, having missed 2019 Copa win through injury.
Messi and Neymar played together at Barcelona between 2013 and 2017 before the Brazilian’s move to Paris St-Germain. Neymar embraced in a long-lasting hug with Lionel Messi while they waited for the trophy ceremony.
The game was watched by a small crowd of 7,000 invited guests, because of the coronavirus restrictions, but was the first of the tournament to have spectators in attendance.
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