Lionel Messi Photo with Copa America Trophy Now Most-Liked Sports Photo on Instagram 

Lionel Messi is the new IG sports image king…

An Instagram photo of the 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer holding the Copa America trophy following Argentina’s win over Brazil has become the most liked sports photo on the social media platform, surpassing a record 20 million likes.

Lionel Messi  

Messi celebrated his first major title with Argentina as the Albiceleste lifted the Copa America trophy after a 1-0 win over Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on July 10.

Messi posted the picture with the caption: “What a beautiful madness! This is unbelievable! Thank you, God! We are the champions!”

The post broke the previous record of 19.8 million likes that was held by Cristiano Ronaldo after he paid tribute to Diego Maradona following his death.

Ronaldo shared a black and white photograph of himself with Maradona and wrote: “Today I’m saying goodbye to a friend and the world is saying goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best of all-time. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but he leaves a legacy without limits and an emptiness that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”

Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, was voted the top player of the Copa America after his four goals and five assists in the competition.

The Argentina captain is expected to sign a new contract with Barcelona soon.

Angel Di Maria Leads Argentina to Copa America Title

Angel Di Maria will be getting a hero’s welcome…

Argentina won their first major title in 28 years on Saturday when a goal by the 33-year-old Argentine professional footballer gave them a 1-0 win over Brazil and a record-equaling 15th Copa America.

Angel Di Maria

Argentina’s win was a particular triumph for Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who picked up his first ever title in a blue and white shirt after more than a decade of club and individual honors.

Di Maria started for just the second time in the Copa and he justified his selection by scoring the opener midway through the first half.

Renan Lodi failed to cut out a long ball forward from Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria lobbed the stranded Ederson with aplomb.

Brazil piled on the pressure in an exciting second half but even with five strikers on the field they could not get an equalizer against an Argentine defense protected by the outstanding De Paul.

“I can’t cry yet,” Di Maria said after the match. “We dreamed of getting this, and we fought. Many people criticized us and asked us not to come back [to the national team].”

The match itself was a disappointing one, with Argentina the better side in a cagey first half that featured 21 fouls.

“First we have to congratulate our opponents especially for the first half when they neutralized us,” said Brazilian defender Thiago Silva.

“In the second half there was no contest — only one team tried to play football, the other just wasted time as we knew they would. It’s not an excuse, we didn’t do what we had to, principally in the first half.”

The Argentine players surrounded their captain at the final whistle. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez celebrated what he called a Maracanazo, a remarkable win at the famous Rio stadium.

“I’m speechless,” he said. “I knew my dream would come true, and where better than the Maracanazo and giving the title to the best in the world and fulfilling his dream.”

Messi finished the tournament’s joint top goalscorer with four goals and was elected joint best player along with Neymar. But he was quiet throughout and uncharacteristically missed a golden opportunity to wrap the game up with two minutes remaining.

When the final whistle went, Argentina TV declared “Argentina Champions, Lionel Messi Champion!”

“This is a very big title,” said Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni. “I hope that Argentines can enjoy it. The fans love the team unconditionally and I think they identify with this side that never drops its guard.”

The victory was Argentina’s 15th Copa America triumph and means they draw level with Uruguay as the all-time leading winners.

Their win extended their sequence of undefeated matches to 20 under Lionel Scaloni and handed Brazil their first competitive defeat since they lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup.

Lionel Messi Helps Lead Argentina into Copa America Final Against Brazil

Lionel Messi is celebrating a big win…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer, currently a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired, helped lead Argentina to victory, as his team beat Colombia on penalties on Tuesday to set up a Copa America final against Brazil.

Lionel Messi

Argentina won 3-2 following a 1-1 draw in normal time in Brasilia.

Messi continued his special tournament by assisting a 7th-minute Lautaro Martinez goal, but an off-balance Luis Diaz restored level terms in the second half.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and former Arsenal man David Ospina took center stage for penalties, where Messi smashed his home past Ospina.

Martinez then saved penalties from Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez, Everton’s Yerry Mina, and Boca JuniorsEdwin Cardona to lead Argentina

Lionel Messi Becomes Argentina’s Most-Capped Player

Lionel Messi is Argentina’s player with the mostest…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer became Argentina‘s most-capped player on Monday when he captained the Albiceleste in their 4-1 win over Bolivia at the Copa America.

Lionel Messi

The Barcelona star has now turned out 148 times for his country, moving him ahead of former Barca teammate Javier Mascherano, who had 147 caps.

Ex-Inter Milan defender Javier Zanetti held the record before Mascherano and completes the podium with 143 international appearances.

With 75 goals for Argentina, Messi is also his country’s all-time leading scorer, having moved past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016.

Sergio Aguero, who won his 100th international cap against Bolivia, is third in the rankings with 42 goals.

Messi, who turned 34 last week, has won everything in the game at club level but is yet to taste success in senior international football.

He won the Under-20 World Cup in 2005 and an Olympic gold medal with Argentina’s U23s in 2008, but has lost four major finals with the first team.

With Messi in the side, Argentina were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and have lost at the last stage in the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016.

As Messi focuses on winning a first major trophy with his country this summer, his future at Barca remains unresolved.

His contract with the club expires on Wednesday and if a new deal is not agreed upon before then, he officially becomes a free agent on Thursday.

However, Barca are working hard to reach an agreement over a new contract and are confident he will extend his 20-year relationship with the club.

Manchester City Eyeing Nicolas Otamendi Transfer to Benfica

Nicolas Otamendi could be switching sides soon…

The 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer, who plays for Manchester City, could be heading to Portugal’s Benfica team.

Nicolas Otamendi

Manchester City is reportedly close to signing Benfica defender Ruben Dias, according to ESPN, that would send Otamendi to Benfica.

Pep Guardiola is hoping to bolster ManCity’s defense with Dias’ arrival. The 23-year-old, who has been capped 19 times by Portugal, is set to arrive in Manchester this week to finalize the move.

Otamendi has yet to feature for Guardiola’s side this season. City are prepared to let the Argentina international leave after five years at the club following his move from Valencia in 2015.

Otamendi has been selected for the Argentina team by coach Lionel Scaloni for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

Cristian Pavón to Play for the MLS’ LA Galaxy

Cristian Pavón is headed to a galaxy far, far away…

The LA Galaxy have completed the loan signing of the 23-year-old Argentine professional footballerfrom Argentina’s Boca Juniors, the club has revealed.

Cristian Pavón

Pavon becomes the first signing for the Major League Soccerside in this transfer window.

“Cristian is a young and dynamic attacking addition who has the talent to be one of the most effective offensive players in Major League Soccer,” LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese said in a statement.

“He is a high-caliber player who will be a valuable piece to our roster moving forward. By providing him with a stable environment and a coach he knows well, we are confident that he can continue to grow and improve as a player within our club. We are extremely excited to add him to our squad and look forward to his contributions with the LA Galaxy.”

Sources told ESPN FC that the Galaxy attempted to sign the forward on a permanent deal but were unable to agree on a fee.

Both clubs have now negotiated an agreement, which will see the Argentina international join on loan for the remainder of the campaign.

Pavon played every match for Argentina in the 2018 World Cupin Russia and scored four goals in 19 appearances for Boca last season.

Gabriel Jesus & Roberto Firmino Lead Brazil Into the Copa America Finals

Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino are hometown heroes…

The Brazilian soccer players scored the two goals that helped lead Brazil to a 2-0 victory against old rival Argentina in the Copa America semifinals.

Gabriel Jesus & Roberto Firmino

Both sides tried to impose themselves physically early on but it was Jesus who gave Brazil the lead after 19 minutes when Firmino sent in a low cross for the unmarked striker to side-foot home from close range.

The two combined again on the counter-attack after 71 minutes to make it 2-0 after great work from Jesus left Firmino with the simplest of tap-ins.

Brazil, who have lost twice in 42 games under coach Tite, will face either Peru or Chile in Sunday’s final at Maracana Stadiumin Rio de Janeiro and captain Dani Alves said their goal was within reach.

“There is one more step to go before we fulfil our objective,” he added. “The standard here is very high there are no easy teams. You have to work and fight for what you want and we worked for this.”

Argentina have not beaten Brazil in a major competitive fixture dating back to 2005 and that run rarely looked like ending in front of 52,000 fans at the Mineirao Stadiumin Belo Horizonte.

Sergio Aguero hit the bar with a header in the first half and Lionel Messi struck the post 11 minutes into the second period but the visitors had little luck in front of goal and were never on top for any length of time.

While the tournament has been plagued by lengthy stoppages for the video assistant referee (VAR), Tuesday’s officials preferred to let the game run, though Argentina were incensed VAR did not come into play when Arthur felled one of their players at a corner.

Messi, who has still not won a major title with Argentina, was more influential than in his first few matches here but was still a pale shadow of the player who has won everything with his club side.

“We had chances, the ball hit the woodwork, it flashed across the six-yard box, there were penalties that weren’t given,” said Messi, who like coach Lionel Scalonicomplained about the refereeing.

“Today it just didn’t happen.”

Argentina bow out after scoring just five goals in five games and are still looking for their first major title since lifting the Copa America in 1993.

“We knew that it would be difficult because of the players they have,” Brazil’s Casemiro said.

“It’s about details. We knew it would be scrappy and that there would be wind-ups and time wasting. But we have to congratulate our strikers who did a great job. When they got chances, they scored.”

Sanchez Helps Propel Chile to Copa America Title Win Over Argentina

Alexis Sanchez is kicking his way into the history books…

The 26-year-old Chilean soccer player, who plays for English club Arsenal and the Chilean national team, helped lead his country to its first Copa America title on Saturday.

Alexis Sanchez

Chile defeated Argentina 4-1 in the penalty shootout, which followed two hours of scoreless action on the field.

Sanchez gave his country the win after Argentines Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega failed to convert from 11 meters (36 feet), ending a drought of nearly 100 years for La Roja in the oldest international continental soccer competition.

The final at Santiago’s National Stadium was a clash of titans, an intense battle that was characterized more by the teams’ effort and hustle than artful play.

Chile won the possession battle from the outset, imposing its ball-control style against a side that also typically dominates in that facet of the game.

That led to a golden opportunity in the 11th minute for Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal, who received a ball that had been lobbed in the air on a deflection by an Argentine defender and nearly booted it past goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who was forced to make a diving save.

Fourteen-time Copa America champion Argentina also had some chances in the first half, including a header at point-blank range by Sergio “Kun” Agüero that Chilean Claudio Bravo was able to deflect out of play.

In the second half, Argentine midfielders Lucas Biglia and Javier Mascherano struggled to impose any order in their team’s attack, rendering super-striker Lionel Messi unable to work any playmaking magic.

With the Chilean crowd urging them on, Jorge Sampaoli’s squad aggressively sought out the winning goal and was nearly rewarded for their efforts when a shot by Sanchez barely missed the mark in the 82nd minute.

Then on the final play of regulation, Argentina had its best scoring opportunity of the match when Ezequiel Lavezzi received the ball on the left side from Messi and sent a pass that scooted past Bravo and found Higuain, but the Argentine forward received the ball too close to the goal line and could only slam a shot into the side of the net.

The extra period was mostly uneventful, with both teams wary of making a costly error, although a miscue by Mascherano nearly ended in a goal for Sanchez in the 15th minute.

Argentine’s offensive ineptness continued in the penalty shootout, with Higuain sending his shot far over the crossbar and Bravo denying Banega’s attempt, leaving Messi as the only member of the Albiceleste to score.

Sanchez put the finishing touch on the historic victory with a soft strike that slowly bounded into the left half of the goal after Romero had dived to the other side.

Chile finally won the Copa America title match in its fifth appearance to end nearly a century of frustration at this event, which was known as the South American Championship between 1916 and 1967.

La Roja finished runner-up in 1955 (when it was also the host nation), 1956, 1979 and 1987.

Rodriguez Wins FIFA’s Golden Boot Award After Being the Top Goal Scorer at the World Cup

World Cup 2014

James Rodriguez has the FIFA Wold Cup’s golden leg…

The 23-year-old Colombian forward was awarded FIFA’s Golden Boot award after being the top goal scorer at this year’s World Cup.

James Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who scored six goals in five games at the 2014 Brazil World Cup, celebrated along with his family following the end of the championship match where Germany edged Argentina 1-0 for the trophy.

Germany’s Thomas Mueller and Brazil’s Neymar won the silver and bronze boots for their respective five and four goals of the tournament.

Rodriguez is the first Colombian to ever win the prize.

“Thanks to God. All of you for the effort you made. And to my national team colleagues who made it all possible,” posted Rodriguez on his Twitter account.

Thanks largely to Rodriguez’s six goals, Colombia made it past the first two rounds of the World Cup for the first time in history before knocked out in the quarterfinals by host Brazil with a score of 2-1.

Messi Receives FIFA’s Golden Ball Award After This Year’s World Cup

World Cup 2014

Despite a heartbreaking loss in the World Cup final, Lionel Messi is still a golden boy.

The soccer star and captain of the Argentina national team was awarded FIFA‘s Golden Ball award as the best player of the FIFA World Cup after leading his team to Sunday’s final.

Lionel Messi

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who kept a clean sheet as his side beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time at the Maracana to claim their fourth World Cup, was awarded the Golden Gloves as the tournament’s top keeper.

“It is a sad prize that I won because we wanted to lift the trophy for Argentina,” Messi said of his consolation prize, as if the look on his face had not already said it all.

Four-times World Player of the Year Messi had a quiet game by his standards on Sunday but was the driving force behind Argentina’s push to their first World Cup final since 1990.

He scored four of their six goals in the group stage, set up Angel di Maria‘s winner in the last 16 against Switzerland and shouldered the burden of slotting home Argentina’s first penalty in their shootout win over the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

Messi also won four successive man-of-the-match awards against Bosnia, Iran, Argentina and Switzerland.

While some pundits thought Messi looked jaded after the group stage and did not influence his team as much, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said he was a deserving winner.

“I think Lionel reached the pantheon of the greats a while back,” Sabella told reporters. “Yes, I think he deserved it. He played a great World Cup to get us where he did.

“I think it’s very deserved.”

Germany forward Thomas Mueller was runner-up to Messi and Netherlands winger Arjen Robben was third.

France midfielder Paul Pogba was named young player of the tournament, while Colombia took the Fair Play Award after receiving just five yellow cards in five matches in Brazil.

FIFA also praised their positive play and the behavior of their players and officials.