clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Three things we learned from the 2019 Copa América

New, comments

A few lessons from Brazil’s win and the tournament as a whole

2019 Copa America Football Semi-Final Brazil v Argentina Jul 2nd photo by DiaEsportivo/Action plus via Getty Images

1 - Lionel Messi is now human, and from Argentina (for real)

Messi’s Copa America was as inconsistent as his country’s performances and it ended with an inexplicable red card in the third-place match against Chile, which came before Messi had heavily criticized the refereeing and also caused Leo to absolutely bombard CONMEBOL with accusations of corruption and match fixing. He might get banned for those comments, but finishing third and not playing for Argentina over the next few months may have been the best thing that ever happen to Messi in his country.

Even though most Barça fans don’t care about the Albiceleste and hope that Messi retires for real so he can rest during international breaks during the final years of his prime, Leo really cares about winning with his country and it feels like there’s never been a stronger connection between him and the people of his nation.

Between his fighting spirit and leadership on the pitch, singing the national anthem with real passion before the semifinal against Brazil and standing up for his teammates with strong post-match comments over the last two games, Messi has shown the people that he really cares and wants to win, and he’s made it clear he wants to continue playing and fighting with a fresh, young group of players that cares about the country just as much as he does.

And you know what? If Messi is excited about the national team, that might fill him with renewed intensity and focus that could reflect in his Barcelona form as well. And if Messi already was by far and away the best player in the world last season, imagine Lionel Andrés Messi, the pissed off boy from Rosario who will try to run through Spain and Europe on his way to winning next year’s Copa América at home.

2 - Philippe Coutinho’s stock has risen! Or has it?

Coutinho capped off his Copa América campaign with a good performance in the Final and his first title with Brazil, and the fact he’s played well in the biggest game, scored two goals in the tournament and is now a champion may help Barcelona sell him or at least use him in a possible sign-and-trade with Neymar (hi, NBA fans!) this summer.

But I’m Brazilian, I care a lot about my national team and I watch every game with real attention. And Coutinho was just not good in this tournament. He slept through almost every match and just walked on the pitch for most of it. And it wasn’t a Lionel Messi walk on the pitch, where Leo is analyzing everything and trying to find the best spot to work his magic; it was just Coutinho walking and not affecting the game in any way.

If I worked for Liverpool, Bayern or PSG, or anyone else who may be interested in Coutinho and was assigned to watch him and determine whether or not he’s worth pursuing, I wouldn’t write very positive reports for my superiors. If Barça get any kind of real value out of a Coutinho sale this summer, they’ll be making a great deal. Because right now, and I know this sounds harsh, Philippe Coutinho is not a good footballer.

3 - Let Arthur be Arthur

I’ve written about this already, but it’s worth repeating: Arthur has to be involved in the buildup and allowed to move wherever he wants and not be tasked with running around the pitch trying to play like Arturo Vidal. If Arthur is part of a system that makes him more comfortable, perhaps in a double pivot with Frenkie De Jong, we could be looking at one of the best midfielders on Earth in a year or two. He just needs the chance to be Brazil Arthur.