Neymar has blasted Brazilians who want Argentina to win the 2021 Copa America final because they are fans of Lionel Messi.
Messi, who turned 34 in June, is hoping to win his first major international tournament this weekend.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has come agonisingly close to winning a major trophy on several occasions during his illustrious career but has always fallen at the final hurdle when representing Argentina.
He reached the 2014 World Cup final and was named player of the tournament but it was Germany who lifted the trophy.
We’ve also seen Messi in tears after defeats in three Copa America finals (2007, 2015 and 2016).
Messi even announced his international retirement after missing a penalty in the shoot-out of the 2016 Copa America final before being persuaded to reverse his decision.
“For me, the national team is over,” he said after that defeat against Chile. “I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.”
While many people would love to see Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, finally lift a major trophy at the Maracana on Saturday evening, Neymar can’t understand why any Brazilian would cheer for Argentina against their own nation.
Why do some Brazilians want Argentina to win Copa America final?
ESPN claim Brazil supporters have lacked interest in this year’s Copa America due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and last-minute changes to the tournament.
It was originally meant to be hosted by Argentina and Colombia but was moved Brazil shortly before the tournament was due to get underway.
SpotTV journalist Fabiola Andrade is among the Brazilians who admits she would like to see Argentina lift the trophy at the weekend. She wants to see Messi finally lift a trophy with his national team.
Explaining her controversial decision on Instagram, per ESPN, Andrade wrote: “Before stoning me in a public square, let me explain: I love Brazil, Brazilian football…I have several Argentine friends. But I’m not going to root for Argentina in the Copa America final because of them, no. I cheer because I love #football and @leomessi This guy needs to win a title with his country’s shirt! For justice!”
Neymar slams Brazilians supporting Argentina
Messi has said that what he wants most “is to win a title with the national team”, and Neymar is close friends with the Argentine following their time together at Barcelona.
But the Paris Saint-Germain forward is shocked that his compatriots would even dream of supporting Argentina in the final.
“I am ‘Brazilian with a lot of pride and with a lot of love,” the 29-year-old wrote on Instagram. “My dream was always to be in the Brazilian team and hear the fans singing. I never attacked nor would I ever attack Brazil if they are playing for something, whatever the sport, a model [beauty] contest, the Oscar……… I am Brazil, and who is Brazilian and does it differently?”
Marca say he ended the post by writing: ”It’s fine, I will respect it, but go to [hell]… those who are in opposition.”
What else has Neymar said about Messi before Copa America final?
Neymar also says that his friendship with Messi will be put firmly to one side when they meet on Saturday.
“Messi is, as I’ve always said, the best player I’ve ever seen play and he’s a great friend, but now we’re in a final, we’re rivals. I want to win and I really want to win this title, which would be my first Copa America,” he told reporters, per Goal.
“Messi has been looking for his first title with the national team for many years, and every time we [Brazil] are not present at the tournament, I cheered for him. That’s what I’ve been cheering for in the 2014 World Cup final, when he faced Germany.
“Now Brazil is in the dispute, so our friendship is on the line. The respect between us is still great but only one can win.
“When you’re friends with someone, it’s hard to forget the friendship you have – but for example when you play video games with a friend, you want to beat him anyway. It’ll be the same thing on Saturday.”
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