It was a night that finally ended the prolonged suffering of Lionel Messi of never winning a major title with his national team Argentina. After all, the 34-year-old superstar lifted the Copa America 2021 after Angel Di Maria first-half goal proved enough in defeating arch-rival Brazil at their own den in iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio.
And who would understand his happiness more than his former Barcelona teammate Neymar, who had to hold off his own tears of losing a final to show a big heart to go and congratulate his pal.
In a moment of great respect, Neymar was seen going to the Argentina camp and embracing Messi, who was just lifted in the air three times in what has been a customary celebration often reserved for the managers.
The duo was seen embracing each other for long time while both were seen exchanging words. While it was understood Neymar was congratulating Messi on his glory, the latter would have shared words of consolation to the Brazilian star.
Earlier, Di Maria scored the most important goal of his life as Argentina took a slender 1-0 lead over arch-rival Brazil at the end of the first half of the Copa America final played at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Brazil.
The only goal of the first half came in the 22nd minute when Di Maria beat the Brazilian defense to receive a long ball on the right flank and then chipped it effortlessly over goalkeeper Ederson’s head to slot the ball into the net. The visionary long ball was provided by Rodrigo Paul, who spotted Di Maria run far from Argentina half.
Di maria then survived an injury scare in the match for La Albiceleste as he hopped off the field minutes before the end of first half. The injury happened while the winger chased a long ball on the right flank but his foot gets stuck in the ground. The PSG winger looked in pain as he rolled on the ground but he soon joined the action.
Messi also ended the tournament as top scorer with five goals and four assists during the course of Copa America.
Neymar, on the other hand, had a forgettable day as he got nowhere close to the goal for Brazil. Argentina, however, looked sharp on the counter-attack.