Argentina had an eventful summer considering that the national team ended a trophyless drought by winning the Copa América against Brazil at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.
Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gómez spoke in Diario Olé (via AS) about his experience in the Copa América and what it meant for Lionel Messi to win his first title with the Argentina national team.
One of the first questions he answered is over what it meant to win the South American tournament, considering the drought that the national team had experience and the heartbreaks over the past decade.
“I don’t think I found out yet, or I don’t realize it, heh. Just a few weeks have passed, and it is still difficult to process. Perhaps only as the years go by will we realize the dimension of winning a title with the National Team the old glories, which won important titles, will have happened to them,” Gómez said.
“And it will continue to happen to them because people still remember the 78 World Cup, the 86 World Cup, and the America Cups; that is why it seems to me that we will find out when the years, maybe when we stop playing.”
The Copa América victory came against the country’s rival in Brazil, so Gómez discusses how this trophy carries extra meaning due to the opponent they defeated.
“It was all very epic, with the issue of the pandemic, everything changed, we had to go to Brazil again, with everything that had happened in the 2019 Cup with the arbitrations. We had doubts, but they were all extra spices that gave us strength,” Gómez said.
“To get something out of the inside that we had saved. It is clear that the following matches with Brazil are going to be beautiful, heh. It was always a classic, but now they are hurt, and there is a slightly bigger pike. But it is the usual.”
The Sevilla midfielder then touched on what it meant for the players who had been a part of the squads that have lost Copa América and FIFA World Cup finals.
“For Leo, but also for Ota, for Kun, for Di María, for all those boys who had to lose finals and had a bad time. They are people who played ten years or more in the National Team; they are legends, heroes, and people with more than 100 games on their backs. We, who have been here recently, or the younger boys, are figures who marked the way for us, and we wanted to win more for them than for ourselves,” Gómez said.
“In other words, we all wanted to win the Cup, but we wanted to win it with Leo. He is already 34 years old; I hope he will play for the National Team until he is 40, but there aren’t many more tournaments left, and we wanted him to win a title with the Major.”
Finally, Gómez discussed how he sees Argentina ahead of the World Cup next year in Qatar.
“Knowing Italy, because I played ten years in that league and I know every player of that team and having seen the Euro Cup matches, I think Argentina is not at a lower level than this Italian team that won the Euro is. There are indeed other good teams as well that Europeans are always very complicated and there is a very high pace,” Gómez said.
“I watched the Euro and the Copa América, and it seems that they are going a thousand. I don’t know if it will be because of the fields, they are faster … But still, Argentina is no less than Italy today, and I think we can play a significant role in Qatar.”