Former Brazil captain Cafu has praised Lionel Messi and the 2021 Copa America-winning Argentina team for their performance in the tournament. He also pointed out that Messi will continue to be the team's protagonist while talking about Argentina's 2022 FIFA World Cup hopes.
The 2002 World Cup-winning captain highlighted how the Argentina squad played for Messi, who led them to the continental title.
Messi, who had not won an international tournament with Argentina before this, was under immense pressure going into the Copa America earlier this year. But he led the team from the front, finishing as the tournament's top-scorer and assist provider as Argentina ended their trophy drought.
"Messi will always be the protagonist when he plays. Compared to other times, this Argentina team really played for him and that made a difference. There is always pressure on I read for him to perform at his best with Argentina and for others to help bring out the best in him.
"He will always assume a leading role when he is on the field and at the next World Cup it will be no different. He continues to perform at such a high level year after year, so he will certainly have a great influence on Scaloni's strategy. He has had an incredible career," Cafu told Omnicom Pr Group (via Mundo Deportivo).
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Messi and Neymar are superstars but their emotions after the final whistle show how much it means to them: Cafu
The former Brazil defender, who won the World Cup in 1994 and 2002, also talked about how even superstars like Lionel Messi and Neymar were invested in the 2021 Copa America. The two current Paris Saint-Germain teammates faced off in the final and Messi's Argentina won the match 1-0.
"This summer's Copa América showed us the importance of great international tournaments even for the best players. Although the club is important, competing for your country against the best is always special.
"Messi and Neymar are superstars, but when you see their emotions after the whistle in the final, it shows you how much this match meant for them. I think that in the end Argentina were just winners," he said.
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