Brazil icon Neymar and Argentina legend Lionel Messi went head-to-head in the 2021 Copa America final on Saturday night.
The two South American superstars put their friendship to one side for 90 minutes at the Maracana, and it was Messi who prevailed on this occasion.
The Barcelona forward, who played alongside Neymar for four years at Camp Nou, won his first major international trophy with Argentina.
Messi came agonisingly close to winning a trophy with his national team on numerous occasions earlier in his career.
He reached the finals of the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016 but fell at the final hurdle on all three occasions. He also suffered heartbreak in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil.
But the 34-year-old has now finally – finally! – done it. And the vast majority of football fans are thrilled for the legend.
How did Neymar react after the 2021 Copa America final?
Spare a thought for Neymar, though.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward missed Brazil’s 2019 Copa America triumph through injury and was hoping to inspire his country to glory in Rio this weekend.
But instead of tears of joy, Neymar was crying tears of despair at the full-time whistle.
The 29-year-old cut a distraught figure after the match.
Neymar showed his class with Messi
However, he quickly regained his composure and showed his class by seeking out Messi to congratulate his former teammate.
The tearful Brazilian made his way towards Argentina’s jubilant players and then shared a hug with his old pal.
You can watch the beautiful moment here…
Full respect to Neymar. He was obviously crushed at full-time but still made sure that he congratulated Messi on arguably the most special night of the Argentine’s career so far.
The two stars then shared a moment on the steps of the Maracana later in the evening…
If anything, Saturday night’s Copa America final appears to have strengthened the bond between Messi and Neymar.
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