In the semifinal, Lionel Messi had sustained an ankle injury. He brought Argentina to triumph on Sunday. (AP/Twitter)
On Saturday, Argentina’s coach Lionel Scaloni honored team captain Lionel Messi by stating that, despite an injury, Messi participated in the Copa America victory against Brazil.
“If you knew the way that he played in Copa America you’d love him even more,” Scaloni told reporters after Argentina’s 1-0 win at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
“You can never do without a player like him, even when he is not fully fit like in this game and the previous one,” he added.
On a night when Argentines celebrated their first international championship in 28 years and Messi’s first triumph with the national team, Scaloni lavished Messi with accolades without disclosing the nature of the injury.
Messi, who has won a record six FIFA Player of the Year awards, has triumphed in every club and individual competition while playing for Barcelona; nevertheless, he has lost all four of his prior finals with Argentina.
“In the end he did not throw in the towel and he succeeded,” Scaloni said.“We are talking about the best footballer of all time and everyone knew how important it was for him to win a title with the national team.”“I have a relationship that is different than the (usual) coach-player relationship,” Scaloni added. “It’s closer. We greet each other, we hug each other, and I am eternally grateful to him and his team mates.”