Lionel Messi remained humble in victory during his team’s celebrations after Argentina beat Brazil in the final of the Copa America on Saturday night.
Argentina ended a 28-year trophy drought by winning the Copa America, which was also Messi’s first senior trophy with his national team, and it was Angel Di Maria who scored the winner in the final.
Messi, like many of his team-mates, was emotional after the match, and his team ran towards him to celebrate together after the final whistle.
Despite that, he wanted to maintain respect for the losing finalists and hosts, and he stopped Rodrigo De Paul from singing a song about Pele and Brazil.
The two heated rivals have several chants about each other, often sung with the presence of fans, but this time, it was the players that wanted to revel in the victory.
De Paul started the chant, which is about how Diego Maradona is greater than Pele and starts with: “Brazilians, how bitter you look, Maradona is bigger/greater, greater than Pele.”
Just before De Paul could get into the main verses, Messi stopped him and the rest of the rest of the Argentina team followed suit.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Messi did acknowledge Maradona: "It goes for all of you [the fans]. And of course, also for Diego [Maradona] who surely backed us from wherever he is."
Argentina were generally gracious after the victory, even forming a guard of honour for the Brazilians when they went up to receive their runners-up medals.
Post-match, Messi and his friend and former Barcelona team-mate Neymar also shared a long embrace, as the Brazilian star congratulated the 34-year-old on ending his international trophy drought.
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Neymar also wrote on Instagram: “I hate to lose, but enjoy your title, football was waiting for you to have this moment.”
The tournament was a successful one for Messi, having scored four and assisted five of Argentina’s 12 goals throughout the competition.
He also won the top scorer and Best Player awards at the end of the final, capping off a fine summer, and France Football marked him as the top favourite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, which would be his seventh.
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