Argentine footballer Lionel Messi gives thanks to God for his first Copa América Championship title saying that "God had this moment in store" for him.
"I thank God for giving me these moments," Messi said, "God had this moment in store for me and I am grateful."
Messi said in the interview that he had longed for that moment and shared briefly of his sacrifices just to achieve his dream, which included not "earning anything," not seeing his family for a long time, and even being "locked up for many days."
"Many times I dreamed of this. I dedicate it to my family, my wife, my children, my elders, my brothers, who many times had to suffer, just like me or worse. We always had to go on vacation and spend several sad days, without earning anything, and this time it is different," he added.
"I had a lot of confidence in this group, which has been getting very strong since the last Copa América, where many good things have already been done. A group of very good people who always push forward, who never complained about anything, they were locked up for many days, without being able to see the family, but the objective was clear. It was given to us, we were able to be champions and happiness is immense," he disclosed.
Copa América, the oldest football competition in the world for national teams since 1910, was originally set for June 12-July 12, 2020 but was reset to June 13-July 10 this year due to the pandemic. According to the organization's website, Messi shed "tears at the final whistle" and received hugs from his team mates due to the "impact of the huge Argentina win" following years of defeat "in 2005 and 2016."
"Nobody can doubt that Lionel Messi played a huge part on route to this win. The Barcelona superstar was named player of the tournament at the 2021 Copa América and his impact was remarkable," the CONMEBOL Copa América 2021 said.
Messi, a native of Rosario, Brazil, is renowned for his inspirational leadership and is "at the heart of almost all Argentina's best attacking play." He scored 2 goals, had 28 shots that resulted to 11 on target, and made 295 passes with 81% passes, as per Copa América 2021.
Messi also shared a "great friendship" with his Brazilian rival Estadio Maracana. Their friendship started in 2013 during a championship in Spain. Messi and Macarana were seen hugging each other after the championship was announced that Copa América said a showing of "empathy" between friends. The rivals were also seen speaking in the changing room's stairs, a photo of which has become viral already as it shows true sportsmanship and true friendship.
According to Barcelona.com, Messi was only five years old when he started playing for the local club his father coached whose name is Grandoli. Although he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency at the age of 11, this did not stop him from playing the sport that eventually landed him to play for the Barcelona B team before he made his first debut for FC Barcelona in October 2004.
Messi was called the "New Maradona" after famous footballer Diego Maradona and has been nominated as the Ballon d'Or Player of the Year at the age of 21 in 2009. He also became a FIFA World Player of the Year nominee in 2010.