Argentina striker, Angel Di Maria, has hailed his La Albiceleste teammate and captain, Lionel Messi, as one who deserved their 2021 Copa America title success more than anyone else, Completesports.com reports.
Di Maria paid the huge tribute to Messi with his Instagram post on Sunday following Argentina’s 1-0 defeat of Brazil on Saturday at the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, for their 15th Copa America title, equalling Uruguay’s record.
Di Maria scored Argentina’s solitary winner in the 22nd minute of the final clash after Rodrigo De Paul’s through pass caught the Brazil defence napping. The PSG star won the man-of-match award, while Messi claimed the Golden Ball award.
Messi got the special accolade from Di Maria for the obvious reasons. He had been the most vilified Argentina player for the Albicelete’s long hiatus without any major trophy. And that he had won virtually all major individual awards in football except a major title with La Albiceleste, was putting the Barcelona superstar under immense pressure. Winning the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2005 and the Olympic football gold medal in 2008 were no longer an admirable items in his profile.
Di Maria hailed Messi on his Instagram page: “It was this friend. You deserve it more than anyone. You are the best in the world. You were before this final and you are now after being a champion. @leomessi”
He added in another post: “The day has come. The day longed for so much with my soul came. Champions. Full of happiness. Proud of this team. To death with this bunch. Let’s go Argentina. Let’s go national team.”
Messi, 34, and Di Maria (33) form the foursome oldest members of the triumphant Argentina side, alongside Sergio Aguero (33) and Nicolas Otamendi (33). They might have played their last tournament for their national team at Copa America 2021.
Messi also complimented his special group with a post on his Instagram page on Sunday. He posted a photo showing the four oldest players flaunting the Copa America trophy inside the team’s dressing room at Maracana Stadium, and aptly captioned it ‘The Old Guard’.
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