(XINHUA) – BRAZIL, JUL 5 – Argentine midfielder Rodrigo De Paul hailed Lionel Messi’s genius as the Albiceleste seeks their first major trophy in nearly three decades at the Copa America in Brazil.
Messi was the outstanding player of the tournament, scoring four goals and providing four assists on the march to Argentina’s semi-finals. A win over Colombia at Brasilia’s Mane Garrincha Stadium on Tuesday would create a tempting final against hosts Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on Saturday.
“[He is] one step ahead of all of us, “De Paul said at a virtual press conference on Monday for his first goal against Ecuador [in Saturday’s quarterfinal], for example, he saw me alone and luckily he helped us win. “
Argentina’s last major tournament triumph came at the 1993 Copa America in Ecuador, where Gabriel Batistuta won 2-1 over Mexico in the final.
The Albiceleste has come terribly close to ending the drought in the last decade, finishing second at the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Copa America.
“We are motivated and we know how difficult tomorrow’s match against Colombia will be, but we feel prepared and very excited to face it,” said De Paul.
“This is a long road in which we have to face great teams, but we are willing to fight until the last day to reach the final. We want nothing more than to bring joy to all the Argentines,” added the Udinese player.