Rodrigo de Paul reveals special motivational speech from Lionel Messi ahead of Argentina-Canada

Argentina are back in the final of the Copa America for the fourth time in the last five competitions, with Angel di Maria playing his last, and some even wondering whether it will be Messi’s final appearance in the competition.

Messi has won it all now, and part of his journey with Argentina has seen him take on a much more vocal and active role as leader and captain of the Albiceleste. Atletico Madrid’s Rodrigo de Paul explained after the match that Messi had given a special speech before the game, sending out his side especially motivated.

“Leo always has very precise words. Today he touched on the point that he obviously knew was going to motivate us much more. Leo told us that Fide’s [Angel di Maria] last game had to be in a final. And that together we could achieve it. Well, we did it. Fide is going to retire as he deserves, playing one more final.”

De Paul was full of praise for di Maria, who will likely win his 145th cap for Argentina, with a shot at winning his third title on Sunday against Colombia or Uruguay.

“The legacy that Di Maria leaves behind is eternal. He is the one with the goals in the finals, the one that broke the wall, the one that deserves all kinds of recognition. One of the greatest to wear our shirt. For me it has been an enormous pride to walk this path alongside him, to have won titles. Hopefully we can crown Fide in this Copa America final. We will try one more time. There are very few players who have the power to decide when the end is. It makes me very happy that he decided it.”

“He has earned that decision-making power. He will no doubt have thought about it a lot, talked about it a lot with his family. A lot of moments have come and gone. It’s better for him to leave like this. I’ve enjoyed it from the first day. In this Copa we touch on the topic very little. We decided to enjoy ourselves and laugh. He knows that we love him and want him to be eternal. But it is a very personal decision. And whatever he decided would be fine.”

Messi himself was less certain on what exactly he had said before the match, but gave the general jist.

“I don’t remember to be honest… They are words that come out of you, that we feel. I don’t remember exactly what I said. I remember that I talked about Fide [di Maria], about enjoying it, about trying to play one more final, that we value everything we are doing, that it is not easy to achieve what was achieved, a little bit of all that,” he told MD.

Tags Angel Di Maria Argentina Atletico Madrid Barcelona Canada Copa America Inter Miami Lionel Messi Rodrigo De Paul
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