Lionel Scaloni, Argentina coach, revealed this Saturday, after proclaiming himself the 2021 Copa América champion against host Brazil (1-0), that Leo Messi played the final physically impaired by “a hamstring problem.”
“With Leo, nothing is going to change having won, he continues to be and will continue to be the best footballer in history,” said Scaloni at the press conference after the 1-0 victory over Brazil, at the legendary Maracanã stadium in Madrid. Rio de Janeiro.
“How many times did he try not to continue because of all the frustrations, because of everything that had happened to him, and he did not throw in the towel and in the end he succeeded. And that is something that must be noted,” said Scaloni about Messi.
Scaloni confessed that Messi played the semifinal against Colombia and the final against Brazil “with physical difficulties”, which in statements to the ESPN Brazil channel minutes before the coach cited as a “hamstring problem.”
“If all Argentines knew the way he played this Copa América, they would love him even more, I have no doubts,” he said, referring to shirt 10.
“And I, as a coach, at no time can I do without a player of these characteristics, there is no possibility, even playing in inferior conditions as he has played this game and the previous one,” added Scaloni. And the Albiceleste coach also said: “We have to admire him because at some point in his career he will no longer be playing active soccer and there we will regret it.”
“I am eternally grateful to Messi. At some point it will no longer be active and we will regret it “
Likewise, Scaloni revealed that with Messi he has a different relationship than that of a player-coach. “I am quite close to him and I am eternally grateful to him and his teammates,” he said when asked about the meaningful hug that was given after the final whistle.
Regarding Neymar, whom he comforted on the same Maracana grass, he told ESPN Brazil that it is “almost impossible” to stop him and that for him “he is the second best player in the world after” Messi. “He played a good game” and “all” the “danger” plays of the Brazilian team “came off his feet,” he said.
Argentina won 1-0 against Brazil this Saturday with a goal from Ángel Di María in the 22nd minute, in the final of the Copa América in 2021 that was played at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
“I feel enormous joy and pride for these 28 warriors who came to play this Copa América, who have left many things to play in difficult conditions because they had to be in a bubble, locked up …”, said Scaloni.
The victory against the ‘canarinha’ ended a 28-year drought without titles for the Albiceleste and was also the first trophy with the senior team for Messi.