The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) on Monday unveiled a life-size statue of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi that would be placed at its museum next to the statues of late football greats Diego Armando Maradona and Pele.
The Argentine national team, including Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward Messi, were invited to a special event, called La Noche de las Estrellas (The Night of Stars), at the CONMEBOL headquarters in Paraguay.
Argentina players and head coach Lionel Scaloni were handed miniature trophies of the 2022 World Cup and the 2021 Copa America.
In a statement, CONMEBOL confirmed that the statue showing Messi in his Argentina kit holding the World Cup trophy will be kept next to Maradona and Pele at the museum of the South American football’s governing body.
Messi’s compatriot Maradona helped Argentina win the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The former Barcelona and Napoli attacker died of heart failure in 2020 at the age of 60.
In 2022, Brazil’s Pele, a three-time World Cup winner, lost his fight against colon cancer and died at the age 82.
Lionel Messi-led Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties in Qatar 2022 to bag the nation’s third World Cup title in its history.
Before 2022, Argentina won the world title in 1978 and 1986.