Messi dedicates Copa America win to '45 million Argentines' and Maradona

Lionel Messi has dedicated an emotional Copa America triumph that saw him break a senior international trophy duck to "45 million Argentines" and Diego Maradona, "wherever he is".

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner, who has collected countless records and honours at club level with Barcelona, is finally off the mark with his country after tasting continental glory.

An iconic 34-year-old, who remains a free agent as those at Camp Nou seek to put a new contract in place, continues to revel in a memorable triumph and hopes to have made his fellow countrymen proud.

What has been said?

Messi has, after helping Argentina to a 1-0 victory over Brazil at the Maracana, posted on Instagram: "It was an incredible Copa America. 

"We know that we can still improve a lot of things, but the truth is that the guys gave it everything and I can't be more proud to have the luck of being captain of this spectacular group.

"I want to dedicate this success to my family, who always gave me the strength to move forward, to my friends that I love so much, to all the people who believe in us and most of all to the 45 million Argentines who have endured such a tough time with this virus ..., especially those that have been personally affected.

"This is for all, and of course also for Diego, who surely was supporting us from wherever he is.

"In order to continue celebrating we have to continue taking care of ourselves. 

"Let's not forget that there is still a long way to go to return to normality and I hope we can take advantage of this happiness to gain a little strength to fight the virus together."


A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

The bigger picture

Argentine great Maradona, who inspired his nation to World Cup glory in 1986, passed away in November 2020 at 60 years of age.

Messi has been following in his footsteps for some time, with many of the opinion that he has become the greatest of all time, and now has international silverware to savour.

That success will live long in the memory, in what remains a testing time for South America during the coronavirus pandemic, but attention is set to shift back to Catalunya.

Barca are in the process of trimming a wage bill that is preventing them from registering new signings and tying their talismanic captain to fresh terms.

Messi has remained in contact with his club throughout a memorable Copa run, but he cannot be fit into a salary cap at Camp Nou at present and must remain patient as speculation rages regarding his future.

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