Messi-Neymar in the final, in the firmament of South American football

Lionel Messi and Neymar, when they played together in Barcelona Panoramic

Brazil challenges Argentina on Saturday night to Sunday for the South American title.

Star Wars at the Maracana! The Brazilian star Neymar and the Argentine star Lionel Messi, friends since their common years at FC Barcelona, ​​face each other in the final of the Copa America in Brazil, on the night of Saturday to Sunday in Rio de Janeiro (2:00 am in France). This galactic confrontation between the two great favorites of the tournament, which will be played exceptionally with the public – however limited to 10% of the capacity of the enclosure – is the opportunity for Neymar and Messi to finally win a first major title in selection, decisive asset to win the Ballon d’Or, the race for which remains very open this year. And too bad ifney » and « Leo“have nurtured a sincere friendship since the four seasons spent by the Brazilian at Barça (2013-2017).

« I’ve always said it, (Messi) he’s the best player I’ve ever seen play. He is a great friend, but we are in the final, we are rivals now and I want to win, I want to get this title because it would also be my first« , said « ney« . Injured, he had missed the Copa America-2019 won by Brazil. « When you have a friend who is going to be your opponent, it ends up being hard to forget the friendship. But even when playing with your friends, you want to beat them by all means. Saturday will be“Added the Paris SG player. For Messi (34), the tournament’s top scorer and passer with 4 goals and 5 assists, this final is one of the last chances to win a title with Argentina.

Repeated failures

In addition to having shared the same locker room, the two friends have in common repeated failures in major international competitions. This final is, for the six-time Argentinian Ballon d’Or, the opportunity to break the curse after four lost finals (World Cup 2014, Copa America 2007, 2015 and 2016) and to put an end to the interminable drought of his country, which he hasn’t won a trophy since the 1993 Copa America. Neymar (29), often caught up in injuries, is still trying to make people forget the affront of 2014, when Brazil suffered their greatest humiliation at home. his story (7-1) in the semi-final against Germany, in the absence of his prodigy touched on the back.

Both, however, have an Olympic gold medal on their record, won in 2008 for the Argentinian and in 2016 for the Brazilian, who also won the Confederations Cup in 2013. At Barça, the two world football superstars trained one of the duos – then trios, with the arrival of Luis Suarez – the most prolific in history, compiling goals and assists to offer the Catalan club its fifth Champions League in 2015, accompanied by two league titles of Spain (2015, 2016) and three Copa del Rey (2015, 2016, 2017).

« It’s a final that everyone was hoping for, and that I’ve always dreamed of playing… »


« To speak of Messi and Neymar is to speak of excellence, of technical, mental and physical qualities, of great creativity. It’s a big challenge, a big show“Said Brazil coach Tite. Neymar will find his friend, and mentor, on a pitch for the first time since leaving FC Barcelona in 2017. He also assures that he « think only of victory. Today, Argentina has, with Messi, one of the best players in its history. I think it would be a good thing for the film at the end of my career. It’s a final that everyone was hoping for, and that I’ve always dreamed of playing…“, concludes the Brazilian.

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