Lionel Messi: ‘I hope to change history and become a champion’
Argentina’s Lionel Messi is determined to “change history and become a champion” as his side face Chile in the Copa America final on Monday.
Messi spoke of his sadness at having missed out with Argentina in consecutive finals – at the 2014 World Cup and the Copa America last year – and is focused on putting that right next week.
"The final is important for me because I could win a Copa America," Messi said at a press conference.
" It’s the third final I’ve got to play in with the national team and I hope to change history one day and become a champion"
"Winning would certainly be the best gift we could give, not only for me [in reference to turning 29 on Friday] but the whole group. We must seize this opportunity and win the cup by any means.
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates with team-mates after scoring a goal during the first half against the United States in the semi-finals of the 2016 Copa AmericaReuters
"[On possibly losing a third straight final with Argentina], I don’t know if it’d be a failure.
" Still, this is my third consecutive final and not winning it would be a big disappointment."
"We’re feeling very well, very excited and raring to play this game. We’ve arrived [for the final] spectacularly, but it’s true that we have to prove it on the pitch.
"We’ve grown a lot as a team, as a group, and become more united this past year. We’re focused on the cup and no-one can change that.”
For all Messi has achieved in his illustrious career, it is unusual and refreshing to hear him talk with such conviction and so openly about past disappointments.
There will be no one doubting his resolve for sealing glory for Argentina on Monday and put his country’s last two final defeats behind him.