Neymar endured one of the toughest nights of his career on Saturday as Brazil suffered a 1-0 defeat to rivals Argentina in the Copa America final.
Despite having home advantage, Angel Di Maria’s goal earned Argentina victory at the famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Lionel Messi subsequently lifted his first trophy with Argentina, who hadn’t won a major international title since 1993.
“It is a huge title, especially for our people,” Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni said, per the Buenos Aires Times, after the match. “I hope that the Argentines enjoy it. The fans support the team unconditionally. I think they can identify with this team that never gives up.
“It was a very difficult Copa America. Luckily it was possible for us this time.”
Otamendi picks up Neymar in Copa America final
Defender Nicolas Otamendi played the full 90 minutes and helped Argentina keep their clean sheet.
The 33-year-old, who joined Benfica from Manchester City, went viral on social media during the match for the way he forced Neymar to stand up.
Angry and complaining because he felt he’d been fouled, Neymar’s protests were cut short by Otamendi, who picked up the Brazilian forward like a morning newspaper.
Watch the funny clip here…
Here’s some of the best reaction to the video on social media…
Neymar was left in tears at the full-time whistle but showed his class by congratulating his old Barcelona teammate Messi.
The 29-year-old was desperately hoping to win the Copa America for the first time – he missed Brazil’s 2019 triumph through injury – and losing to Argentina in Rio would have been a particularly bitter pill to swallow.
But this was Messi’s night and a little part of Neymar will surely feel pleased that his old pal has finally won the international trophy that his remarkable career deserved.
Is Lionel Messi the GOAT?
Some football fans always used Messi’s lack of success at international level as a stick to beat him with.
And some will still insist that he needs a World Cup to truly surpass the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona on the pantheon of all-time greats.
But even more football fans will say Messi’s Copa America title is further proof that he’s the best footballer we’ve ever seen.
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