Argentina was back on home soil for the first time since winning the Copa America last summer, so the players celebrated extensively with the supporters after the final whistle.
Tears streamed down the face of 34-year-old Messi, who, despite his great track record as a club, had never won an award with his country at the display of the gigantic trophy.
“I had to wait a long time for this prize”
“I really wanted to be able to celebrate and enjoy the win of the Copa América. I had to wait a long time for this price. It was also a unique moment, also because of all the circumstances,” said the new star of Paris Saint-Germain, referring to all the corona happenings and the fact that the final was won against arch-rival Brazil, in the lion’s den moreover.
“There is no better way to celebrate this here. My mother is in the stands, my brothers… They empathized with me and now we celebrate it together”, said Messi, who knows emotional times anyway. When he announced that he was going to leave FC Barcelona this summer after seventeen seasons, waterlanders also came up with the six-time Golden Ball winner.
Messi also broke a record as mentioned. With his three goals, he lifted his tally of goals for Argentina to 79. With his second of the night, he passed living legend Pelé, who scored 77 goals for Brazil and was the most accurate South American of all time for decades.
“I had to wait a long time for it, but I really wanted the record and I really went for it,” said Messi after his 153rd international match. “I am now going to enjoy this unique moment.”
Internationally, only four players found the net more often than Messi: Ferenç Puskás (Hungary, 84), Mokhtar Dahari (Malaysia, 89), Ali Daei (Iran, 109) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, 111).
WK in Qatar
Argentina is well on its way to the World Cup in Qatar next year. The Albiceleste has amassed eighteen points in eight matches and occupies second place in the overall group of a total of ten countries. Only Brazil does better, with a total of 24 points.
The Brazilians won 2-0 against Peru on Thursday in Recife. The goals came from Everton Ribeiro and Neymar. Uruguay beat Ecuador 1-0 in Montevideo thanks to a late goal by former PSV player Gaston Pereiro. The country rose to third place in the standings with 15 points from 9 games.
The game between Brazil and Argentina in São Paulo was stopped after a few minutes last Sunday. Employees of the Brazilian health service entered the field, because some Argentina players allegedly did not comply with the corona rules. The affected players were taken off the field.