In the clash between friends Lionel Messi and Neymar – it was the former’s side that proved to be dominant as Argentina defeated Brazil in the final of the Copa America 2021.
The two of the greatest footballers of modern times enjoyed a lot of success at the club level at Barcelona but had not tasted international glory with their respective nations. This match was all the more important for them and their legacy.
However, Angel Di Maria made sure Neymar and Brazil end up on the losing side as his lone goal sealed the deal for Messi and Co.
While Messi was seen in tears – happy tears – after the win, his friend was also seen emotional with the loss. After the game, Neymar who looked heartbroken was consoled by Messi, who walked up to him and hugged him.
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 11, 2021
Both were, however, seen in the dressing room later, enjoying each other’s company.
The relief in Leo’s face after everything he went through with his country, Neymar’s excitement to see his friend lift a trophy despite losing to him Everyone wanted to see Leo lift that trophy This will go down as one of the best legendary photos of all time #Messi pic.twitter.com/teIfatQrdo
— Ejaz Yaqeén (@apdhirahmanu) July 11, 2021
Messi and Neymar were both voted as the best players at the Copa America just before the final. Neymar scored two goals and assisted three in five matches, Messi, on the other hand, netted four times while providing five assists in six games.
Messi is one short of equalling Pele’s record of the most international goals by a South American player. He could have equaled the Brazilian legend’s feat in the closing stages of the match, but could not provide the finishing touches.