Barcelona football club has sent a message to captain Lionel Messi after his Argentina side were soundly beaten by the hosts in the semi-finals of the ongoing Copa America in Brazil.
Brazil forwards Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino both scored as the Samba Boys beat arch-rivals Argentina 2-0 in the Copa America semi-final. The Manchester City star, Jesus opened the scoring after 19 minutes when he sidefooted in a low cross from Firmino.
Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi both struck the woodwork for Argentina, who have not beaten Brazil in a major competitive fixture since 2005. A tap-in from Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino secured the win to set up a final against Peru or Chile.
Messi, who has won 29 trophies with Barcelona, is yet to win a major title with Argentina with his only notable success being a 2008 Olympics gold medal. The Barcelona man is regarded by many as the greatest player in the history of the sport. However, he has failed to impress for his national team having lost in the finals of FOUR major tournaments.
His next chance to change that poor record will be when Argentina co-host the 2020 Copa America, with Colombia. “Something new is on the horizon,” said the 32-year-old, who quit international football after his country’s defeat by Chile in the 2016 Copa America before returning for the 2018 World Cup.
“I hope we are respected and not criticised. They should let the team be and let them grow,” Messi said at the end of the game. “The truth is I have got on very well with this group of players and if I have to help in some way I will. This is a great group which is growing and if I can join them I will.”
Barcelona took to social media to send a message of consolation to their captain and greatest player in the history of the club while also congratulating Coutinho and Arthur who have progressed to the final. “Be Strong, Leo Messi” the message read.
? Be strong Leo Messi! pic.twitter.com/7phsVcne5z
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 3, 2019
Coutinho and Arthur were particularly impressive for the Samba Boys who have not played in a major final since the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup final which was hosted by Brazil. Brazil’s win came at the same Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte where they were thumped 7-1 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals.
However, Lionel Messi felt a number of decisions went against his side as they failed to reach the final for only the second time in the last six Copas. The Barcelona captain was particularly aggrieved Argentina were not awarded a penalty by referee Roddy Zambrano before Brazil’s second goal. He said: “Brazil were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty they didn’t award.”
“The officiating was crazy. There were clear penalties, on (Nicolas) Otamendi, on Kun (Sergio Aguero). He (the referee) was on their side. In every divided ball or dispute, he went their way. It’s not an excuse, but the truth is that, in this Copa, they kept on blowing for stupid things, for handballs, penalties. But they didn’t even go to VAR when there were clear plays that should have been looked at,” Messi disclosed.
Argentina would play the losers of the other semi-final tie between Peru and Chile on Saturday to determine the winners of the bronze medals. Arthur and Coutinho would hope to feature in the final of the tournament when they play the winners of the second semi-final on Sunday.