Lionel Messi adds Copa America title to Olympic gold with Argentina

Victory over reigning Olympic Champions Brazil in the 2021 final gives Argentina their first continental crown for 28 years, and adds one of the key trophies missing from Messi's impressive career haul.

By James Pratt
Picture by Wagner Meier

A long wait is over for Lionel Messi and the Argentina men's national football team.

By beating Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday (10th July), Argentina claimed their first continental title for 28-years, and a first crown in the South American tournament for Messi.

The 34-year-old, considered by many to be the best footballer in the world, finally winning the trophy at the sixth attempt.

Argentina stun Brazil on home soil

Argentina were underdogs for this Copa America final against the reigning Olympic men's football champions Brazil, including their star-man Neymar, which was played in the Maracana stadium.

The Brazilians had won the Rio 2016 gold medal in the same venue during their home Olympics, but a goal from Angel Di Maria in the 22nd minute gave Argentina the 1-0 win and their 15th title in the worlds oldest continental championships.

Second major title with Argentina for Messi after 2008 Olympic gold

Despite having spearheaded Barcelona to four UEFA Champions League trophies and 10 Spanish Liga titles, Messi has often tasted defeat with his national team.

But it all started so well for Messi's Argentina career, when they won Olympic gold at the Beijing 2008 Games.

He has often talked about his Olympic gold medal as his most cherished prize, telling Spanish Esquire: "Olympic gold in 2008 is the win that I value the most because it is a tournament that you may play only once in your life and involves many athletes from different disciplines.”

What next for Leo Messi after 2021 Copa America win?

The footballing superstar is currently without a club, after his contract with Spanish giants Barcelona expired at the end of the 2020/21 season.

The one major title that still evades Messi is the FIFA World Cup, with his Argentina side losing the 2014 final to Germany.

Midfield maestro Messi will be 35 when the 2022 edition takes place in Qatar.

Confidence in the team will be riding high after the 2021 Copa America win, so could that be the catalyst that helps Messi complete the set?

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