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 Pelé 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 Soccer 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 by no means dreamed or considered this,” Messi mentioned. “My dream was to take pleasure in what I appreciated after I was little, to be an expert soccer participant, to do what I at all times liked on this life.
“I had a really lengthy street, many choices and defeats, however I at all times seemed forward and wished to go for a triumph, for a victory.
“I believe that’s an important factor, to battle to your goals, that every thing is feasible and to benefit from the sport, which is essentially the most stunning factor there may be.”
The Argentina gamers and coach Lionel Scaloni additionally acquired miniature trophies of the World Cup and the Copa América, which they gained in 2021.
The Argentine Soccer Federation renamed the nationwide group’s coaching facility after Messi on Saturday, two days after he scored his 800th profession aim in a 2-0 pleasant win over Panama.
Messi has scored 99 objectives for his nation and would turn into the primary Argentina participant to web 100 worldwide objectives if he scores in Tuesday’s pleasant towards Curaçao.