‘It’s always good to beat Brazil’ – Messi
Goal: The Albiceleste captain ended his enforced three-month exodus with the winning goal against the Selecao to leave him more than satisfied
Lionel Messi was in high spirits after he secured victory for Argentina over Brazil on his return to international football, adding that the rivalry between the South American nations was stronger than ever.
The Albiceleste captain was on typically fine form in his first game back for his country following his three-month ban from the global stage for his criticism of governing body CONMEBOL.
The 32-year-old proved vital for his nation too, netting the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win over their Superclasico de las Americas opponents in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The star tapped in a rebound after he saw his penalty saved by Alisson in the first half, shortly after Gabriel Jesus missed a spot-kick of his own for Brazil.
The result was Argentina’s first win over their major rivals since 2017, and Messi talked up the significance in his post-match interview, singling out coach Lionel Scaloni’s tactics for particular praise.
“The rivalry is lived more than ever and it is always good to beat Brazil,” he stated, via Ole .
“When you win, you work better. The ideas of the coach are carried out on the pitch in another way and it is positive for what is coming.”
Argentina now turn their attention to another friendly encounter with a key rival, Uruguay, on Monday as they continue to prepare for the start of the gruelling CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying beginning in March next year.
Messi and his team-mates will be seeking to secure their place at Qatar 2022, following their worst showing for a decade-and-a-half in Russia last year, when they were knocked out in the round-of-16 by eventual champions France following a shaky group stage showing where they picked up only one win – against Nigeria.
The World Cup remains one of the few major honours in the game the multiple Ballon d’Or winner is yet to claim, with the tournament in three years’ time likely proving to be his final chance at adding it to his trophy cabinet.
“There is little left for the qualifiers. There is a good team feeling,” the Barcelona star added. “On the defensive level we made a big effort.”