Brazil and Argentina meet at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro in one of the most anticipated games in 2021.
The two South American rivals are expected to offer a historical clash. It will also be a confrontation between two of the best players on the planet, Lionel Messi and Neymar. The two share a great relationship outside the pitch since their time at FC Barcelona. On Saturday Night (02:00 AM CET), nothing will matter, except for the trophy.
Is Messi the best player ever?
For the many debating the subject, a triumph for Argentina against Brazil will put Messi’s rivalry with the rest of the football planet behind any doubt. At international level, Leo played four finals with Argentina, not winning any. The six-time ‘Ballon d’Or’ winner missed out on three Copa America trophies (2007, 2015, and 2016), as well as one World Cup (2014). Among tens of trophies and medals at club and individual levels, Messi missed out on glory with his national team.
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni believes Messi has done enough not to need any confirmation against Brazil tonight.
“There’s not a single trophy left to win for Messi to prove that he’s the greatest player of all time. No matter if we win the final or not,” Scaloni argued.
In the 43 finals he contested at club and national team levels, Messi scored 31 goals, assisting another 13.
Brazil superstar Neymar is ready to play against his friend tonight. Despite the heated rivalry between Argentina and Brazil, PSG’s forward said he supported Argentina throughout the tournament.
“I want Argentina, I am cheering for them,” Neymar said smiling before Argentina beat Colombia on penalties to reach the last act at Copa America. “I have many friends in that team. In the final, Brazil will win,” Neymar confidently added.
RUMO À FINAL 🇦🇷🇧🇷
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 10, 2021
Copa America final nightmares for Messi
Brazil and Argentina last met in a Copa America final in 2007. Brazil won 3-0 in Venezuela, with Argentina nog being given too many chances. That was Messi’s first wasted opportunity to win the trophy. Eight years after, Argentina ended at the losing end of a shootout in Santiago, against hosts Chile. Messi was the only Argentina player to score a penalty, with Higuain and Banega missing. In 2016, the Copa America Centenario, held in the United States, also finished in tears for Messi and his compatriots. Leo even missed a penalty and Chile won the cup once more.
Messi was so affected, that he temporarily quit the national team after the tournament. His fans around the world feared Messi might not play in an Argentinean shirt given the critics from the media and part of the supporters, but in the end, he reconsidered and decided to try for gold again. Now 34, Messi will probably say his final goodbyes to international football after the World Cup in 2022.
At Copa America this summer, Leo was the MVP. He scored four times, assisting another six, as Argentina progressed in the competition. He’s also leading the stats when it comes to the number of shots, chances created, and take-ons.
Despite having Messi in the team, Argentina is regarded as the underdog in the final. Brazil is at -175 for a victory in normal time, with Argentina at +137. Messi sending at least three shots on goal brings back +500, with a goal by Leo from outside the box at +1000. Neymar scoring first in the game is at +320, while Messi opening the scoring is at +350. A goal anytime in the game from Messi is at +180. One from Neymar is at +140.