Watch: Player-of-the-tournament Lionel Messi lifts his first trophy as captain of Argentina

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for Lionel Messi. The Argentine is out-of-contract at Barcelona and currently a free agent, with his future as clear as mud. There was nothing ambiguous about Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, however, as the 34-year-old lifted his first trophy as captain of Argentina.

The decisive goal came in the 22nd minute; Rodrigo de Paul, close to joining Atletico Madrid according to the rumour mill, threaded through an excellent ball to find ex-Real Madrid man Angel di Maria, who finished coolly past Ederson.

Messi, a free-agent following the expiration of his contract with Barcelona, squandered a gilt-edged chance to make it 2-0 late on, but he won’t mind. He’s landed his holy grail.

Messi didn’t shine in the final but certainly did before it. He played 100% of Argentina’s minutes throughout the Copa America, earning himself the accolade of player-of-the-tournament. The Argentine scored four goals and contributed five assists in seven appearances, directly participating in 60% of their goals.

Tags Barcelona Lionel Messi