Argentina star Rodrigo de Paul has revealed the words Lionel Messi shared with him before leading the memorable Copa America win against Brazil in 2021. The pair helped Argentina beat Selecao 1-0 in the final and ended La Albiceleste's 28-year long wait to lift silverware.
Speaking in an interview on It is Not So Late (via Infobae), the Argentine midfielder revealed:
"On the day of the final with Brazil, I looked at him, and he said 'there is no middle ground for him. Either he is God or hell.' He made a tremendous Copa America."
When asked how he felt about his role in the squad that helped the Paris Saint-Germain man win the trophy, De Paul added:
"It gives you great pleasure to have helped achieve that dream he had."
The 2021 Copa America win was the first national honor for the former Barcelona man and came after years of heartbreak with the Argentine national team.
With the Argentines unbeaten since their Copa America triumph, De Paul and Messi will hope they can add win more national honors. The World Cup in Qatar could be the last for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, with him turning 35 later this month.
Lionel Messi and Argentina win La Finalissima 2022
In a remarkable showing against European giants Italy, the Argentines put forth a star-studded front line on June 1. It was a battle between the 2021 Copa America winners and the 2021 Euro winners as La Albiceleste put three past the Azzurri.
Messi was at the heart of his team's success, with the mercurial playmaker ending the game with two assists to his name. Italy's defense seemed rather stumped, looking unable to keep up with the speed of Argentina's attack.
The Finalissima win has given the PSG man his second trophy with La Albiceleste in as many years. If they continue in similar fashion ahead of the World Cup, there's a good chance that the Argentines will get deep into the knockout stages.
They may have to face massive threats like France and Spain. However, if their Finalissima triumph against the Italians says anything, it's that La Albiceleste are prepared.