Neymar has reacted angrily to fans showing support for former Barcelona teammate and Argentina captain Lionel Messi at the Copa America ahead of the big showdown between Brazil and La Albiceleste in Saturday’s final.
Some Brazil fans have not been shy in backing Messi and Argentina, including SporTV journalist Fabiola Andrade who wrote about her decision in a post on Instagram.
She explained, “Before stoning me in a public square, let me explain: I love Brazil, Brazilian football…I have several Argentine friends. But I’m not going to root for Argentina in the Copa America final because of them, no. I cheer because I love #football and Leo Messi. This guy needs to win a title with his country’s shirt! For justice!”
Neymar does not appear at all happy with the situation and responded with an angry post on social media where he showed his surprise that Brazilians could follow the team’s fierce rivals Argentina.
He wrote on Instagram, “I am Brazilian with a lot of pride and with a lot of love. My dream was always to be in the Brazilian team and hear the fans singing. I never attacked nor would I ever attack Brazil if they are playing for something, whatever the sport, a model [beauty] contest, the Oscar……… I am Brazil, and who is Brazilian and does it differently? OK, I’ll respect [that], but go to f***.”
Victory for Messi would see the 34-year-old win a first senior international trophy with Argentina. The captain has been in superb form at the tournament so far and is the top scorer with four goals and five assists.
Messi has already made it clear how desperate he is win the trophy. He told reporters after the semi-final win over Colombia, “What I want most is to win a title with the national team. We are more eager than ever to win the Copa.”
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Neymar Will Put Messi Friendship Aside
Neymar has also spoken publicly about the match and facing Messi and says the pair will have to put their friendship aside during the final. The Brazilian went on to praise Messi but made it clear they how determined he is to beat Argentina, as reported by Goal.
“Messi is, as I’ve always said, the best player I’ve ever seen play and he’s a great friend, but now we’re in a final, we’re rivals. I want to win and I really want to win this title, which would be my first Copa America,” he said. Messi has been looking for his first title with the national team for many years, and every time we [Brazil] are not present at the tournament, I cheered for him. That’s what I’ve been cheering for in the 2014 World Cup final, when he faced Germany. Now Brazil is in the dispute, so our friendship is on the line. The respect between us is still great but only one can win.”
Argentina has not won the Copa America since 1993 and could end a long drought with victory. Brazil is the defending champions and has won the last five finals the team has contested.