Argentina’s excitement for winning the Copa América against Brazil at the Maracanã has not stopped yet. The country continues to revel in what they accomplished this summer, including former players who suited up for the national team. 

During an appearance on the program Super Deportivo (via Marca), César Luis Menotti spoke about what the victory would have meant for Diego Maradona, who passed away without seeing Argentina end their 28-year drought.

“Diego, alive, would surely have been very happy with the title. He would surely have gone to hug Messi and the two of them would have run away. Crying,” Menotti said.

Menotti then touched on what this victory has meant for Lionel Messi, who won his first international trophy with the Argentina national team after heartbreaks in various international final appearances. Menotti stated that he notices a different Messi since winning the Copa América.

“Messi is like never before. He is happy and not only because of the victory, but because he is surrounded by people who love him. Messi in the National Team did everything he could to be,” Menotti said.

“Messi is a footballer who, unlike others, he is prepared to win a game, to make his teammates play well, and to make his team play well. And look how difficult being Messi is, huh? He’s at his best in every way; emotionally, physically, he is a boy who always prepares himself.”

Finally, Menotti discussed his emotions when he saw Ángel Di María score the lone goal in the final against Brazil. Menotti stated that seeing that finish gave him the exact feelings that Maradona did in 1986 as Argentina won its first international trophy since 1993.

“That goal by Di María moved me like Diego’s in 86 against England. They were different goals, logically, but I was moved because he is a barbarian kid,” Menotti said.

“I am not his friend, but I suffered a lot for him, for how they have mistreated him. He was a figure everywhere. He is not in the national team because Scaloni is generous, he is there because he is a good player. You have to leave him alone, they made him suffer a lot.”

This article first appeared on Caught Offside and was syndicated with permission.

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