"Before I was bitter, but now it was different" - Emotional Lionel Messi celebrates Copa America triumph with Argentina crowd

Lionel Messi had a memorable night on and off the pitch
Lionel Messi had a memorable night on and off the pitch

Argentina captain Lionel Messi was pictured in tears of joy as he celebrated the Copa America triumph with the home crowd at the El Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner had to wait 16 years to lift a trophy for Argentina at senior level and did not hold back his feelings during the celebrations. An elated Lionel Messi was overjoyed to have conquered the demons from the past, having previously lost four finals with Argentina.

Although Argentina were crowned champions of the continent two months ago, Lionel Messi and company were forced to wait until last night to celebrate it with their fans. Irrespective of the delay in parading the Copa America trophy to their devoted supporters, the Argentina team ensured the moment became one to savor.

Speaking to the media with tears of joy, Lionel Messi stated:

"I dreamed about this. Finally, it's been given to me. After so much waiting. There is no better place to celebrate it than here. My mother and brothers are here tonight, they suffered a lot and today they celebrate. I am so happy.”
"I finally had happy holidays from the first day to the last. Before I was bitter and now it was different from start to finish. My children sing Argentina songs all the time, they remember the final against Brazil, and for me it's spectacular to see how they enjoy that."

Lionel Messi sets new record with hat-trick in Argentina's 3-0 win over Bolivia

Prior to the emotional outburst at the end of the game, Lionel Messi produced an absolute masterclass for Argentina on the pitch. The 34-year-old netted a hat-trick and etched his name into the history books as the leading international goalscorer in South American football ahead of Pele.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring as early as the 14th minute when he produced an outrageous nutmeg on a Bolivia defender before curling his effort beyond the visitors' goalkeeper. The goal helped Messi go level with Pele on 77 international goals.

Later, the Paris Saint-Germain forward netted his second goal in the 64th minute after a neat exchange with Lautaro Martinez. Lionel Messi eventually completed his seventh Argentina hat-trick in the 88th minute after pouncing on a rebound.

With his extraordinary display, the Argentina captain took his goal tally to 79 in 153 appearances at senior level for his country.

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Edited by Nived Zenith
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