Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni said that captain Lionel Messi had to play through the pain barrier at the Copa America after picking up a hamstring problem.
Scaloni told reporters that Messi had “hamstring problems” in the semi-final against Colombia and Saturday’s showdown with Brazil but carried on regardless.
“If you knew the way that he played in the Copa America you’d love him even more,” he added.
“You can never do without a player like him, even when he is not fully fit like in this game and the previous one.”
Messi wasn’t on the scoresheet in either game but did have a glorious chance to finish Brazil off in the final. The captain was sent clean through on goal in the dying minutes of the match but somehow managed to make a mess of the chance when faced by Ederson.
The miss didn’t matter as Angel Di Maria’s goal was enough for Argentina to claim a famous victory. However, there’s still no doubting the influence Messi had on the Argentina team at the tournament.
The 34-year-old finished up with four goals and five assists and was the Copa America’s top scorer, top assister, the player of the tournament and captain of the winning team.