Saturday night isn't just Argentina vs. Brazil in the Copa America final, it's Lionel Messi against Neymar at the iconic Maracana in the biggest meeting between the two ever. The former FC Barcelona teammates will have yet another meeting head to head, but there haven't been as many in the past as one would think.
Here's a look at their meetings, how they've done against each other and how each has performed ahead of the final.
Did they play in 2019 Copa America?
No, actually. While Argentina and Brazil did play in the semifinals, with Brazil winning 2-0, Neymar did not play in the match. In the lead-up to the tournament, he ruptured an ankle ligament in a friendly against Qatar less than a week before the tournament started.
It didn't matter in the end though, as Brazil went on to win the cup by beating Peru in the final, 3-1.
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Meetings on the club level
Messi and Neymar have only played on time against each other in club competitions. Just once! You are probably thinking there was a Barcelona vs. PSG meeting in the UEFA Champions League just last year, but as has so often been the case over the last decade, Neymar was injured and didn't play in either of the two meetings between the teams this past season.
Their only meeting on the club side was ten years ago in the Club World Cup final between Barcelona and Santos. Barca, fresh off winning the Champions League under Pep Guardiola, crushed the Copa Libertadores champs 4-0 with Messi scoring twice.
Two years later, Neymar would make his move to Europe, joining the Argentine superstar.
Meetings on the international stage
This is where there is a bit more history, but still not a lot. They've met four times in total, with Argentina winning the first two and Brazil dominated the last two.
- Friendly, 2010: Argentina 1, Brazil 0 (Messi scored winning goal)
- Friendly, 2012: Argentina 4, Brazil 3 (Messi scored a hat trick)
- Friendly, 2014: Brazil 2, Argentina 0 (Messi missed a penalty)
- World Cup qualifying, 2016: Brazil 3, Argentina 0 (Neymar scored)
Wins for Messi: 3
Wins for Neymar: 2
How can I watch the final?
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET, and you can watch it on FS1 and TUDN. Watch the game live on fuboTV (Try for free).