Angel Di Maria has said that superstar Lionel Messi’s comment after Argentina won the 2021 Copa America made him happy.
Di Maria’s goal gave Argentina their first major title in 28 years on Sunday as they beat Brazil 1-0 in 2021 Copa America final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
Argentina had last tasted success at a major tournament in 1993 when the great Gabriel Batistuta’s brace gave them a 2-1 win over Mexico in the Copa final in Ecuador.
Di Maria got the winner midway through the first half when he lobbed Ederson after full back Renan Lodi failed to cut out a long-through ball.
Superstar Lionel Messi won his first trophy with his national team as Angel Di Maria’s goal gave Argentina a 1-0 win over hosts Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday.
Angel Di Maria was quoted by Goal as saying that “It’s going to be unforgettable as Messi told me thank you I said thanks to him.
“He told me that it was my final, that it was the rematch for the finals that I couldn’t play. It had to be today and today it was.”
“I am happy for my daughters, my wife, my parents, all the people who supported us and for all the crazy people who came here.
“A World Cup is coming up soon and this is a huge boost.”
“We fell short so many times, we dreamt so much about this, fought so hard,” said Di Maria, who was named man of the match.
“Many people said we wouldn’t manage it, we were criticized a lot. But we kept knocking at the door and kept going until today we knocked it down and entered.”
In a frantic start, Argentina’s burly enforcer Nicolas Otamendi was quickly in with his first foul while Brazilian midfielder Fred picked up the first booking after just three minutes for a studs up lunge at Gonzalo Montiel.
Brazil were unchanged from their semi-final win over Peru while Scaloni made five alterations, notably bringing in Di Maria – who made an energetic and decisive entry off the bench against Colombia last time out.
The final was the first match of the tournament, which was originally due to take place last year, to allow in fans as 7,800 – a tenth of the Maracana capacity – took their seats after authorities partially lifted pandemic restrictions.
The first clear chance came on 13 minutes as Richarlison headed down Marquinhos’s long ball into the path of Neymar but the Brazilian star was crowded out by a pair of defenders.
The brutal nature of the early challenges could be seen on the players’ kits, with Neymar sporting ripped shorts and Lucas Paqueta being left with a hole in his sock following an intervention by Otamendi.
Argentina played with aggression and commitment, but no lack of quality with Di Maria tormenting Brazil’s left back Renan Lodi, who probably should have cut out De Paul’s pass for the winger’s goal.
Di Maria had a shot from 20 yards blocked while Messi fired just wide following a 40 yard run.
Brazil struggled to create anything of note and even when they had a free-kick from shooting range, Neymar couldn’t beat the wall.
When the hosts did finally maintain some pressure late in the first half, Everton’s deflected strike bobbled though to goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.