Argentina Coach: Lionel Messi was not fully fit for Copa America final


La Albiceleste claimed their first Copa America title since 1993 after Angel di Maria's first-half goal secured a 1-0 win over defending champions Brazil.

It was not Messi's best performance on the night, although he did walk away with the Player of the Tournament award and the Golden Boot.

"If you knew the way that he played in the Copa America you’d love him even more,” Scaloni told reporters, as per Reuters.

“You can never do without a player like him, even when he is not fully fit like in this game and the previous one.”

Scaloni went on to praise his captain for soldering on through the injury.

“In the end he did not throw in the towel and he succeeded,” he added.

“We are talking about the best footballer of all time and everyone knew how important it was for him to win a title with the national team.”

“I have a relationship that is different than the (usual) coach-player relationship. It’s closer. We greet each other, we hug each other, and I am eternally grateful to him and his team mates.”