Argentina coach reveals Lionel Messi played Copa America semi-final and final with injury

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has heaped praise on Lionel Messi after La Albiceleste’s 2021 Copa America title win. Scaloni also revealed that the 34-year-old played in the semi-final and final with an injury.

Lionel Messi scored four goals and provided five assists in the 2021 Copa America as Argentina ended their 28-year wait for an international trophy. Following their 1-0 victory over Brazil, Scaloni revealed that Messi wasn’t ‘fully fit’ for the semi-final and the final.

Although Lionel Messi wasn’t as effective in the final as the rest of the tournament, his teammates ensured the excruciating wait for a senior international trophy for Messi comes to an end.

“If you knew the way that he played in Copa America you’d love him even more. You can never do without a player like him, even when he is not fully fit like in this game and the previous one. In the end he did not throw in the towel and he succeeded,” Scaloni told reporters after the Copa America final.

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Everyone knew how important it was for Lionel Messi to win a title: Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni

Scaloni continued showering Lionel Messi with praise, calling him the ‘best footballer of all time’ while acknowledging the 34-year-old’s search of an international title with Argentina.

“We are talking about the best footballer of all time and everyone knew how important it was for him to win a title with the national team,” he said.

Scaloni also opened up on his relationship with Lionel Messi.

“I have a relationship that is different than the (usual) coach-player relationship. It’s closer. We greet each other, we hug each other, and I am eternally grateful to him and his teammates,” Scaloni added.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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