With wild celebrations marking Argentina’s triumph in Copa America, Lionel Messi, widely considered to be the greatest footballer to have played the game, has added another chapter to his storied career. On multiple occasions, Messi has fallen agonisingly short of lifting a major international trophy with his national team. Although he has an Olympic gold medal but the glory that comes with winning a continental or a world title in unmatched.
On Saturday night, the maestro ticked that box too. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts from Argentina’s historic 1-0 win over Brazil at the Rio Stadium.
Most Copa America Titles
Argentina have now lifted Copa America trophies 15 times and thus equalised with Uruguay for having won the most titles in history.
First in 84 Years
The last time Argentina defeated Brazil in a Copa America final was back in 1937. They lost to them in the 2004 and 2007 finals. Saturday ended their 84-year-long wait with La Albiceleste becoming third time lucky.
First in 28 Years
Argentina were tagged chokers having lost several finals in recent times. They twice lost FIFA Confederations finals (1995, 2005), finished runners-up four times in Copa America (2004, 2007, 2015, 2016) and famously lost to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final too. Copa America 2021 has put an end to the wait.
Argentina’s First Goal in a Major Final Since 2005
In their previous four attempts at a major international final starting with 2007 Copa America, Argentina failed to score in the regulation time. They drew a blank in 2007, 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals and at the 2014 FIFA World Cup final too. 2021 Copa is the first time they scored within the 90 minutes.
Messi is Player of The Tournament Alongside Neymar
He may have not dazzled in the summit clash but Messi was in top-form during the rest of the tournament as he finished with four goals and five assists in six appearances. Along with his close friend and Brazil star Neymar, he was chosen as the top player of the event.
Martinez Creates History
Emiliano Martinez had a memorable tournament as he kept four clean sheets - the most by any goalkeeper during the continental event. And he thus became the first ever Argentine to win golden glove at a Copa America.
Di Maria First Argentine to Score in Copa Final in 17 Years
It was in 2004 Copa final, also against Brazil, that two Argentine managed to score. Since then, they have drawn a blank, Angel Di Maria, starting for just the second time in the event, found the back of the net in the first half and thus became the first from his country to score in a Copa final in 17 long years.
Di Maria’s First International Goal in 13 Games
Di Maria’s last goal for Argentina came at the 2018 FIFA World Cup when he scored against eventual champion France. He then played 13 games but failed to score in them. On Saturday, he ended the drought.
Di Maria First to be Named Man-of-The-Match in a Champions League and Copa America Final
For his performance in the summit clash, Di Maria was chosen as the man-of-the-match in Copa America. He thus became the only player in history to have won the award in both Copa America final and a Champions League Final (2014, vs Atletico Madrid).
Argentina Equalise With Brazil
With their 15th Copa title, Argentina have now drawn level with Brazil in number of international trophies won.
Bonus - GOAT ALERT!
On July 10, 2016, Messi’s famous rival Cristiano Ronaldo won his first ever major international trophy with Portugal as the beat France 1-0 in the Euro final.
Five years later, on July 10, 2021, Messi clinched his maiden international major trophy for Argentina when they beat Brazil 1-0 in the Copa final. GOATs.