Angel Di Maria revealed that Lionel Messi told him the Copa America final would be his moment to shine as the duo helped Argentina seal a long-awaited triumph over Brazil.
Di Maria scored the game-winning goal in the 1-0 win over the Selecao, helping Messi get his hands on an elusive senior international trophy.
The Paris Saint-Germain star’s strike came after he was forced to miss several big games in recent years due to injury issues, including the 2016 Copa America final, making this summer’s triumph all the sweeter.
What did Di Maria say?
“It’s going to be unforgettable,” Di Maria said after the game. “Messi told me thanks to me, I said thanks to him!
“He told me that it was my final, that it was the rematch for the finals that I couldn’t play. It had to be today and today it was.”
He added: “I am happy for my daughters, my wife, my parents, all the people who supported us and for all the crazy people who came here.
“A World Cup is coming up soon and this is a huge boost.”
‘Messi needed everyone, and we needed him’
While it was Di Maria that got the goal, Rodrigo De Paul was also a force in the midfield, helping Argentina take it to a strong Brazil team.
It was a game where Messi was not neccesarily required to be the here, having scored four goals to get Argentina this far, and De Paul was glad to be one of several team-mates to pay Messi back with a trophy.
“This is more than we dreamed of,” De Paul said. “Being champion in the Maracana against Brazil exceeds all kinds of expectations. I am very happy.
“Messi needed everyone, and we needed him. He is the best of all time.” .