The national shock has dissipated. Lionel Messi finally won his first major title with Argentina this weekend. 42 million citizens pressed, eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo and record Diego Maradona fell off the shoulders. “I haven’t seen Messi emotionally like this week.”
The final whistle rang. On the sacred grass of the Maracana, Lionel Messi fell to his knees, hands in front of his face. Surrounded by all his teammates in a matter of seconds – they knew what a Copa America victory was for him. After the cup ceremony, the Argentine immediately showed his gold medal via FaceTime to beloved Antonella and his three sons.
Messi is happy as a kid with the first ball.
Messi proudly displays his Gold Medal via Facetime to his wife Antonella and three children.
Edit also. Finally, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner gets rid of his demons. She won every possible award with Barcelona, but none with the Argentine national team before Saturday night – the 2008 Olympic gold medal as a plaster on a wound.
However, it has been a cruel and oppressive anticipation for his homeland since Messi’s debut in 2005. His compatriots wanted only one thing: that he, like Diego Maradona in 1986, lead them to win the medal. Regardless of the quality of the “wing men” around him.
Final Shock Treatment
For a long time it did not work. Four consecutive losing finals – 3 South American Cups, once a World Cup – left a scar. There was barbs. In 2016, Messi briefly announced his retirement from the Argentina national team, only to return to it after 7 weeks. Ronaldo’s fans laughed well after their hero’s victory with Portugal in the European Championships in France.
Most surrounded during matches, lonely when losing: Messi after losing the Cup Final to Chile in 2015.
Many Argentines were upset: they saw Messi as having credit to settle with his home country. Because he went to Spain at a young age and never played in his league. Some have even questioned his devotion to the cyan and white jersey, arguing that he never sang the national anthem and is sometimes disappointed when it mattered.
“But after this weekend there is not a single doubt in Argentina,” says journalist Roy Nemer, who follows the national team closely. “The thorn was removed from the wound. I have not seen Messi as emotionally as on Saturday. It was a relief to finally win with his country. Especially since everything points to that.” It will never happen.”
Request for the seventh Ballon d’Or
Critics who question his loyalty have been forever silenced. The Messi legend just got even bigger after this weekend. – According to many – the best of all time has now also left something behind his national team. Nimr laughs: “There were Brazilians who supported Messi.” “It shows how much everyone gave him.”
Hernan Losada also celebrated Argentina’s victory on Saturday. The former player, among others, Beerschot and Anderlecht, now a coach at DC United in the United States, saw how the mystery suddenly fell together for Messi. “This may have been the poorest team in the last 15 years, but the team was very strong. It had to be. Messi played the last two matches injured. He showed his love for the national team once again.”
For an entire generation, this was the first success they had consciously experienced from the Argentina national team.
With 4 goals and many assists in 5 matches, Messi was vital on the way to the final. Additional calling card to get the seventh golden ball. Angel Di Maria scored the only goal against Brazil. “The first final since 2005,” Nimr smiles. “However, it was all about Messi. Everyone in Argentina played with him. That’s what everyone said in the interviews afterwards.”
For a football-mad nation, this was the first major title since the Copa America in 1993. It sparked a frenzy across the country. Thousands of fans waited for the arrival of the plane, a multiple of four, on the streets of Buenos Aires. “There was a lot of energy and emotion blocked by the aura,” Losada radiated. “The Argentine people needed one day to forget all the misery of the past months.”
“For my generation, from the ’90s, this is the first success that we consciously experience,” Nimer said. “An unlikely moment. Then against Brazil with Messi. A magician.”
The dreamers of Argentina are already thinking of Qatar…