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L. Messi

‘Copa America win gave Messi life!’ - Argentina icon happy again as Aguero reflects on ‘liberating’ trophy triumph

1:15 PM GMT 04/12/2022
Argentinien Lionel Messi Copa America 2021 Finale Pokal Jubel
Sergio Aguero believes Argentina’s Copa America win in 2021 gave Lionel Messi “life”, with an all-time great happy again on an international stage.
  • Legendary figure had lacked international medal
  • Savoured continental glory in 2021
  • Now looking to chase down a global crown

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner certainly looks to be enjoying his football, with a series of impressive performances put in at the 2022 World Cup across three group stage outings and a last-16 victory over Australia. The 35-year-old is playing with freedom, despite being aware that he is taking in a last shot at global glory, with a long-awaited continental triumph allowing an iconic figure to tick one final box in what has been a glittering career.

WHAT THEY SAID: Aguero, who formed part of Argentina’s triumphant Copa America squad that brought a long wait for senior international honours to a close, has told ESPN of his illustrious countryman: “Leo is going to do everything possible to achieve the goal that we all want. Leo is happy and content. The Copa America changed his life, it gave him life. After the Copa America, he was happy again in the National Team, like when we were in the Under-20s. He lived with criticism and lost finals for a long time. The Copa America was liberating for him.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi has helped Argentina to set up a quarter-final showdown with the Netherlands at Qatar 2022, with the potential still there for the Albiceleste to meet arch-rivals Brazil in the last four. Aguero added on that prospect: “Do you think that Brazil wants to meet Argentina in the semi-finals? Brazil has just lost the Copa America final, I think they don't want that match.”

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WHAT NEXT? Lionel Scaloni’s side are due to face the Dutch on Friday, with Brazil having to come through a last-16 encounter with South Korea before they can starting planning for the latter stages of a historic tournament in the Middle East.