Lionel Messi enjoyed himself this weekend. The Argentine was clearly over the moon to win the Copa America on Saturday evening, beating Brazil 1-0 in the final in Rio de Janeiro. He himself earned the player of the tournament award, scoring four goals and contributing five assists.
Messi’s future is still unclear, with the Argentine currently a free agent following the expiration of his contract with Barcelona. They’re scrambling to find the funds to extend his deal while respecting a strict salary cap imposed by La Liga, playing a nervy waiting game as pre-season begins.
Messi’s focus, however, was undoubtedly on Argentina and the Copa America this summer. He penned a letter on Instagram, carried by Mundo Deportivo, to explain his feelings around the triumph and thank the recently passed-away Diego Maradona.
“It was an incredible Copa,” he wrote. “We know that we can still improve many things, but the truth is that the kids gave their souls and I couldn’t be more proud to be the captain of this spectacular group.
“I want to dedicate this success to my family, who always gave me the strength to keep going, to my friends that I love so much, to all the people who backed us and especially the 45 million Argentines who’ve had such a bad time with this s*** of a virus, especially those that were touched by it more closely. It’s for all of you. And, of course, thanks to Diego, who backed us from wherever he is.”
Argentina opened their Copa America campaign with a 1-1 draw with Chile, before beating Uruguay 1-0 and then Paraguay 1-0.
They closed the group with a 4-1 hammering of Bolivia, before a 3-0 defeat of Ecuador in the quarter-final and a penalty shootout victory over Colombia, after a 1-1 draw, in the semi-final.