Lionel Messi stepped out of Diego Maradona’s shadow by main Argentina to World Cup victory final yr and a statue of the diminutive ahead will stand alongside these of his predecessor and Brazil nice Pele on the South American federation’s museum.
Messi, holding a reproduction of the World Cup trophy, stood beside the life-size statue at an unveiling ceremony on the South American Football Federation (CONMEBOL) headquarters in Luque, Paraguay earlier than the Copa Libertadores draw on Monday.
The 35-year-old emulated the late Maradona by main Argentina to their first World Cup triumph in 36 years in Qatar in December.
“I had never dreamed or thought about this,” Messi mentioned. “My dream was to take pleasure in what I appreciated once I was little, to be an expert soccer participant, to do what I at all times beloved on this life.
“I had a really lengthy highway, many selections and defeats, however I at all times seemed forward and needed to go for a triumph, for a victory.
“I think that is the most important thing, to fight for your dreams, that everything is possible and to enjoy the game, which is the most beautiful thing there is.”
The Argentina gamers and coach Lionel Scaloni additionally obtained miniature trophies of the World Cup and the Copa America, which they gained in 2021.
The Argentine Football Federation renamed the nationwide group’s coaching facility after Messi on Saturday, two days after he scored his 800th profession purpose in a 2-0 pleasant win over Panama.
Messi has scored 99 targets for his nation and would grow to be the primary Argentina participant to internet 100 worldwide targets if he scores in Tuesday’s pleasant in opposition to Curacao.
This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.