"God wanted it to be played in Brazil so that we can win it at the Maracana" - Rare footage of Lionel Messi's emotional speech ahead of Argentina's 2021 Copa America emerges

Messi inspired Argentina to Copa America glory in 2021
Messi inspired Argentina to Copa America glory in 2021

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward Lionel Messi's inspired speech ahead of Argentina's 1-0 Copa America win over Brazil in 2021 has been released.

La Albiceleste secured a memorable Copa America final win over Selecao via Angel di Maria's 22nd-minute strike on 11 July, 2021.

It secured Lionel Messi his first major trophy with Argentina, and his words of motivation before the victory shows just how motivational the veteran forward was.

The PSG attacker galvanized Argentina teammates with stirring words describing what victory would mean for the nation.

He spoke to his compatriots ahead of the win at the Maracana Stadium (via AlbicelesteTalk):

"We already know what Argentina and Brazil mean. I don't want to say anything today, just thank you guys. Thank you very much for these 45 days. I told you on my birthday, we have made a beautiful group and I enjoyed it very much."

Messi went on to detail the impact the tournament has had on players' private lives:

"45 days where we traveled, ate, were locked up in hotels. 45 days without seeing our families guys. Dibu (Emiliano Martinez) had a daughter and he couldn't see her, couldn't hold her in his arms. Chino also had a son and he only got to see him for a little while."

He added:

"All for what? For this moment. Because we had a goal and we are very close to achieving it. And you know what the best of all is? That this depends on us."
"We are going to take it to Argentina, to enjoy it with our family and friends and with those who have always supported us. The last thing, with this I finish. There are no coincidences guys."

Messi explained how it was meant to be that Argentina secure victory at the Maracana Stadium in Brazil:

"This cup was going to be played in Argentina but god wanted it to be played in Brazil, so that we can win it at the Maracana and make it more beautiful for all of us. So go out to the pitch, confident and calm and we'll take this cup home."

Lionel Messi has earned 164 international caps for Argentina, scoring 90 goals. He will lead his nation into the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

It will be the PSG forward's last appearance at the tournament.

Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez jokingly rubbished Lionel Messi's claim that the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be his last

Lionel Messi is writing off his World Cup chapter
Lionel Messi is writing off his World Cup chapter

Lionel Messi confirmed that the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar would be his final appearance in the competition.

He said:

“This will be my last World Cup — for sure. The decision has been made."

However, his fellow compatriot Martinez moved to jokingly play down Messi's vow that it would be the last time he plays at the tournament, saying:

“How will this be Messi’s last World Cup? No, no he’s crazy, we’re not going to let him leave … We’ll go to war for him.”

Argentina are among the frontrunners to win the World Cup, boasting a squad possessing the likes of Messi, Martinez, Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala.

They have been placed in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.

Their first fixture arrives on 22 November when they take on Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett