Lionel Messi returned from international suspension to score the winner in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Brazil in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
Messi scored the only goal of the game in Riyadh as Argentina recorded a 1-0 friendly win. He tapped in a rebound after his penalty was saved by Alisson, while Gabriel Jesus earlier put a spot-kick wide for Brazil.
The win over Brazil was Argentina’s first against their rivals since 2017 and Messi talked up the significance.
After the game, Messi said that the win over arch-rivals Brazil was ‘important’. “It’s important to win and it is always nice to beat Brazil, for the rivalry, which feels a lot of late,” said Messi.
“The rivalry is there more than ever and it is always good to beat Brazil,” he said, via Ole.
“When you win, you work better. The ideas of the coach are carried out on the pitch in another way and it is positive for what is coming.”
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Argentina face Uruguay in another friendly on Monday as they continue preparations for the start of the gruelling CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying beginning in March next year.
Messi, who scored with a pair of free-kicks in his last game with Barcelona, twice threatened from set pieces in the second half before Liverpool ‘keeper Alisson beat away a powerful drive from Leandro Paredes.
Rodrygo, the 18-year-old who scored a sensational Champions League hat-trick with Real Madrid this month, made his Brazil debut as he replaced Willian for the final 20 minutes.
However, Brazil were unable to find an equaliser as their winless run since capturing the Copa America title extended to five matches.
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