Copa America: Lionel Messi played with injury, says Argentina coach
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni heaped praise on Lionel Messi, and revealed that the Barcelona superstar played with an injury in the Copa America final versus Brazil.
"If you knew the way that he played in the 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,” he said. Scaloni, however, did not reveal the injury that caused discomfort to Messi.
Praising his greatness on the pitch, Scaloni added, “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.”
Messi and Neymar picked as best players
Messi and Brazil's Neymar were picked as the two best players of the Copa America just before they met in the final. "It is not possible to choose only one (best) player because this tournament has two of them," CONMEBOL said in a statement.
Messi dished up four goals and five assists in six matches. Neymar delivered two goals and three assists in five games.
CONMEBOL's technical study group added that the players had a positive impact on their teams and were "the reflection of the South American DNA in every match they played" in the Copa.
The study group included Colombia's Francisco Maturana and Carlos Restrepo; Uruguay's Daniel Ba ales and Gerardo Pelusso; Argentina's Sergio Batista and Nery Pumpido and Brazil's Oswaldo de Oliveira.
Messi has so far played his best tournament with the national team since his debut in 2005. He is also comfortable as the leader on the pitch, in contrast with the shy Messi of past tournaments.
Meanwhile, Neymar has steered Brazil with his dribbles, passes and shots. Also, his exchanges with midfielder Lucas Paquet have made Brazil more fluid up front.