Lionel Scaloni has revealed that star man Lionel Messi was playing with a hamstring injury, which highlighted his passion for winning the Copa America at all costs.
Argentina were crowned Copa America Champions on the back of their battling victory against arch-rivals Brazil at the Maracana. The fact that La Albiceleste won the crown for the first time since 1993 was incredible itself, but winning at the home ground of their fierce rivals makes it all the more special.
The main focus in the backdrop of the win was Lionel Messi. The Argentine superstar has broken the long-running curse of not winning a major tournament with his national side. The celebrations after the final whistles indicated how much it meant for the 34-year-old.
However, manager Lionel Scaloni has revealed that Messi was playing on with an injury in the last two games of the competition. The Argentine captain seems to have been carrying a hamstring injury and played through the semi-final and the final with it. In normal cases, hamstring injuries more or less force any player to leave the pitch; Messi stayed on and ensured his side win the title.
In a tweet from Argentine reporter Roy Nemer, he quoted Scaloni revealing the extent of Messi’s injury and how long he’s been carrying it. The coach claimed the frontman played through the Colombia and Brazil games while carrying that hamstring injury.
Scaloni said, “Lionel Messi played against Colombia and Brazil with hamstring problems.”
That single quote is enough to determine how much Messi wanted to win the Copa America. Had he sat out those crucial games, would Argentina have won the title? Most of us don’t think so, but the captain pulled through the entire 90 minutes in both those games. The Colombia semifinal clash went to penalties as well.
Scaloni mentions ‘hamstring problems’ in his comment, but it is not clear as to what the extent of the injury is. For now, Messi will be hoping to enjoy a well-deserved break and sort out his contract re-signing with Barcelona. While he will be revelling in the glory of being a Copa America champion, the little magician from Argentina will surely be dreaming of lifting the World Cup next year in Qatar.