Copa America: Lionel Messi Finally Wins International Trophy As Argentina Beats Brazil

Lionel Messi finally won a first major international title as Argentina beat Brazil in the Copa America final in front of a sparse 7,000 crowd at Rio’s Maracana stadium.

Angel di Maria scored the game’s only goal, a superb lob over Allison, after taking down Rodrigo de Paul’s lofted pass.

Messi, 34, sank to the ground in joy at the full-time whistle and was swiftly mobbed by his team-mates, before being hurled in the air in celebration, as he finally claimed top-level honours with his country in his 10th major tournament.

He also helped end Argentina’s 28-year spell since they last won the competition.

Messi could have signed off the tournament with a goal but slipped with the goal at his mercy.

He, however, finished as joint top scorer and won the MVP for the tournament’s best player.

Defending champions Brazil were disappointing, with their only chances of note coming when Richarlison and Gabriel Barbosa forced saves from Emi Martinez.

As Messi celebrated at the final whistle, opposite number 10 and former Barcelona team-mate Neymar was inconsolable as his own personal pursuit of international success continues, having missed Brazil’s 2019 Copa win through injury.

The pair, who played together at the Nou Camp between 2013 and 2017 before the Brazilian’s move to Paris St-Germain, embraced in a long-lasting hug while they waited for the trophy ceremony.

The tournament, delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic and moved from initial co-hosts Colombia and Argentina, was switched to 2019 hosts Brazil in a last-minute decision.