LIONEL MESSI “lost his mind” in a passionate speech before Argentina’s Copa America final win over Brazil last year.
The legendary Argentine, 35, didn’t have the best of luck on the international stage until then.
He has racked up a World Cup final loss in 2014 to Germany and finished runner-up on three different occasions in the Copa America.
“But this last speech was different, he lost his mind.”
Messi said as the group huddled together: “We already know what Argentina and Brazil mean.
“I don’t want to say anything today, just thank you guys.
“Thank you very much for these 45 days.
“I told you on my birthday, we have made a beautiful group, and I enjoyed it very much.
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“Forty-five days where we traveled, ate, were locked up in hotels.
“Forty-five days without seeing our families guys.
“Dibu (Emiliano Martinez) had a daughter and he couldn’t even see her, he couldn’t hold her in his arms.
“Chino also had a son, and he only got to see him for a little while.
“All for what? For this moment. Because we had a goal, and we are very close to achieving that.
“And you know what the best of all is? That this depends on us.
“That’s why we’re going out on the pitch, and we’re going to raise the cup.
“We’re going to take it to Argentina to enjoy it with our family and friends, and with those who have always supported us.
“The last thing, with this I finish. There are no coincidences guys.
“This cup was going to be played in Argentina, but God wanted it to be played in Brazil, so that we can win it at the Maracana, and make it more beautiful for all of us.
“So go out to the pitch confident and calm, we’ll take this cup home.”
And take it home they did, winning 1-0 with a Messi-inspired Di Maria getting the goal, inside the ground where they lost the 2014 World Cup final.
Argentina carried that momentum on, beating Euro 2020 winners Italy in the Finalissima.
The South American champs won 3-0 at Wembley.
Messi and Co are on a 35-game unbeaten run heading into next month’s winter World Cup, which could be the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s last.
He has also returned to form at club level after a poor first season at PSG.
Messi has 12 goals and 14 assists in 18 games played this season for PSG, heading into Qatar in frightening form.
Argentina will fancy their chances, with European champions Italy not at the tournament.
France, Germany and England aren’t having the best of times either.
Their main rivals could be Brazil, who are looking for their sixth world crown.