Footballers from the Argentina and Brazil national football teams have been exchanging digs on social media after the former’s exit from the Olympic games, in a reignition of one of the sport’s most heated rivalries.
It is one that stretches back more than 100 years, with the South American neighbors first playing one another in 1914.
And while the Selecao currently nurses five World Cup titles to La Albicelste’s two, the Argentines are tied with Uruguay for the most Copa America crowns on 15 while the boys in yellow and green trail on nine.
Brazil had previously reveled in a 28-year trophy drought suffered by their foes across the border, which had seen four final losses for Lionel Messi alone.
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Yet after a 1-0 win in the last dance for South America’s leading international tournament earlier this month, the quest of both the Barcelona legend and his country for major silverware has been resolved, and bragging rights are with the Argies.
In the Maracana dressing room after their win, they chanted songs provoking their eternal enemies demanding: “Brazil, tell me how it feels to be bossed around in your own home”
This guaranteed that when their Olympic team was sent home from Tokyo yesterday following a 1-1 draw with Spain, Brazilian counterparts in the Japanese capital who also played in the Copa America didn’t waste the opportunity to rub salt in the wound.
Waving goodbye alongside fellow runner-up Richarlison, plus two youth players in Real Madrid wonderkid Reinier and Hertha Berlin striker Matheus Cunha, Aston Villa star Douglas Costa captioned an Instagram story of the quartet “Tchau Hermanitos”, which means “Bye little brothers” in Spanish.
Catching wind of this, recent Atletico Madrid signing Rodrigo De Paul posted a story of his own while Luiz’s Villa teammate Emi Martinez replied a simple “Chau maninhos” (“Bye little brothers” in Portuguese) with him lifting the Copa America.
De Paul’s photo showed him chastising a bowed Richarlison and pointing a finger at the Everton target man, and this was accompanied by emojis of a “shh” smiley, trophy and Argentina flag to remind the Brazilians of his homeland’s latest conquest.
Known as the pigeon to his countrymen, Richarlison wasn’t just going to take that on the chin.
Richarlison posted a picture on his Instagram along with a few Brazilian players watching the Argentina match at the Olympics. He wrote “Bye little brothers”.Rodrigo De Paul responded on his Instagram with the following. pic.twitter.com/BULILYTHKe
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) July 28, 2021
Quick to the punch, he then posted a shot of himself kissing the 2019 Copa America trophy, won by knocking De Paul’s side out of the semifinals, and then one of Pele and a bundle of World Cup trophies with the question: “Who has the most stars?”
“A thousand goals…only Pele,” he added, which is another argument between the two countries regarding which boasts the greatest player of all time.
The Argentines of course think it is the late Diego Maradona, with Messi not even getting a look in.
And while such debates will never be truly settled, it is at least refreshing to see that one of football’s greatest rivalries is more alive than ever.