The Copa America once again turned out to be a beautiful tournament this year like it is every year. Lots of great matches, lots of ups and downs with some players making a memory for their life and some being heartbroken. However, Lionel Messi and co. came out on top this time.
Here are the five talking points from Copa America-
1. Emiliano Martinez, The Game Changer
The golden glove winner for the tournament who kept four clean sheets in six games, made 12 saves, saved one penalty from the one he faced. Emiliano Martinez at Arsenal never got a chance to go out on the field and show the world his talents. Then Bernd Leno was caught in an injury for a long period which gave Emiliano a chance to perform at Arsenal, and he did it, beautifully winning the FA Cup. As he wanted to continue his adventure as the first choice keeper, he chose Aston Villa where he played brilliantly earning him Argentina call up and then the tournament responsibility, where he became a key player to help Argentina win their 15th Copa America. A beautiful story for the Argentine.
2. The Desire To Win The First International Trophy For Lionel Messi And Co.
This tournament also gave Lionel Messi his first-ever international trophy with the senior team. A career where he had several heartbreaks for La Albiceleste, this tournament meant a lot to him as it could be seen in his reaction. Lionel Messi played a fantastic Copa America where he was directly involved in nine of Argentina’s total tally of 12 goals. A title with his national team is what Leo has dreamed of all his career and it was very evident that he wanted to win it despite the heartbreaks, and he did it after Angel Di Maria put Argentina front through Renan Lodi’s mistake, the goal that stayed as the winner. Surely this is one of the best years in Leo Messi’s career for him.
3. In The Hunt For A Seventh Ballon D’Or, Lionel Messi
This Copa America trophy also pushes Messi closer to another Ballon D’or which would be the seventh in his cabinet. Messi has had the extraordinary year of 2021 with his stats being extremely breathtaking. Lionel Messi also won the Copa del Rey this year which makes it two major trophies that he has won. This Copa America he played seven games and scored 4 goals, assisting a further five. In his total of 2021, he scored 33 goals and assisted 14 from only 38 games. Winning 26 man of the match awards in the process. Extraterrestrial.
4. Learning From The Previous Mistakes; Lionel Messi And Co.
Where this tournament brought joy and happiness to Lionel Messi, it brought sadness and agony to his former teammate Neymar, who like Messi is dreaming of a major trophy with his country. The last version of Copa America, Brazil won the tournament without their talisman but this time around they have failed to do so with their talisman being on the pitch for every minute in the final. This surely will hurt Neymar but there is a lot to play for him with him being only 29-years-old and eyeing a world cup next year. Despite not being able to get his hands on the trophy, Neymar once again was very good throughout the tournament helping Brazil reach so far to the finals before falling on the final podium. A better year awaits the sensational number 10 of the Brazilian team.
As special as the win is for Leo Messi, it is as important for the other players in the squad. With the ambition to win the tournament for their nation, they also had another ambition. The one, which was to win it for Lionel Messi. All of Argentina was sensational in Copa America 2021. They stepped up when they needed to. Be it, Di Maria who scored in the final, be it Emiliano Martinez who stood firm and strong between the sticks or every player that was determined to win the shootout in the semi-finals vs Colombia. The fact that they gave a trophy together to arguably the greatest player of all times surely gives the squad some chills down their spines. Deserved victory!
These were the talking points from this year’s crazy and exciting Copa America. It brought joy to millions of fans around the world and heartbreak to many too. That is the beauty of this sport. Be humble in victory and graceful in defeats. Congratulations to Lionel Messi, the Argentine squad and the Argentine people, you deserved it.