Lionel Messi has dedicated Argentina's Copa America 2021 triumph to his family, the entire nation and the memory of Diego Maradona in an emotional letter.
Now 34 years old, Messi finally ended his international hoodoo in the early hours of Sunday morning as he fired Argentina to glory with a 1-0 victory over Brazil, after which he was named the tournament's best player, top scorer and top assist provider.
"In the Maracana and in the Clasico against Brazil..." he began. "It was an incredible tournament, we know that we can still improve many things, but the truth is that the guys left their souls on the pitch and I could not be more proud to be the lucky captain of this spectacular group.
"I want to dedicate this success to my family, who always gave me the strength to keep going, to my friends that I love so much, and to all the people who back us and especially to the 45m Argentines who have had such a tough time with this s**tty virus, especially those who were directly impacted by it. This is for all of you, and of course also for Diego, who surely supported us from wherever he is.
"In order to continue celebrating, we have to continue taking care of ourselves. Let's not forget that there is still a long way to go before we can return to normality, and let's take advantage of this happiness to gain a little strength to fight together to win against the virus.
"Thank you God for everything you gave me and thank you for making me an Argentine. CHAMPIONS OF AMERICA!"
Messi's accomplishment this summer was made even more impressive by the revelation that he was carrying an injury for both the semi-final and final, but he was so determined to help his team that he refused to be sidelined.
With the international fun now over, the focus will turn to Messi's club future. He is currently a free agent after his contract with Barcelona expired, although real progress has been made over his renewal.
Messi has agreed on a new deal and La Liga are understood to have approved the contract, giving their rubber stamp after Barcelona made a series of promises and guarantees over how they would reduce their wage budget.