A self-proclaimed Lionel Messi supporter and former Barcelona teammate Neymar had said that ‘friendship would be on the line’ when Brazil take on Argentina in the Copa America 2021 final. Two of the greatest footballers of modern times – Lionel Messi and Neymar – had enjoyed a lot of success at the club level but had not tasted international glory and this match was all the more important for them and their legacy.
Unfortunately, Neymar and Brazil ended up on the losing side thanks to a goal from Angel Di Maria. While Neymar still has time to win an international title, this could have been 34-year-old Messi’s last shot at it. Messi won it and now he is being touted as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT).
After the loss, Neymar looked heartbroken and while he was walking away in disgust and sorrow, Argentina was celebrating the win. But on seeing Neymar dejected, Messi walked up to him, hugged him and tried to console him gave major friendship goals.
!LO LINDO DEL FUTBOL! Emotivo abrazo entre Messi y Neymar !IDOLOS!
— Copa America (@CopaAmerica) July 11, 2021
Messi and Neymar picked as ‘Best Players’ of tournament
Messi and Neymar were picked as the two best players of the Copa America just before they met in the final. “It is not possible to choose only one (best) player because this tournament has two of them,” CONMEBOL said in a statement.
Messi dished up four goals and five assists in six matches while Neymar delivered two goals and three assists in five games.
CONMEBOL’s technical study group added that the players had a positive impact on their teams and were “the reflection of the South American DNA in every match they played” in the Copa.
The study group included Colombia’s Francisco Maturana and Carlos Restrepo; Uruguay’s Daniel Bañales and Gerardo Pelusso; Argentina’s Sergio Batista and Nery Pumpido and Brazil’s Oswaldo de Oliveira.
Argentina captain Messi has so far played his best tournament with the national team since his debut in 2005. He is also comfortable as the leader on the pitch, in contrast with the shy Messi of past tournaments.