RIO DE JANEIRO — Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar were picked as the two best players of the Copa America just before they met in the final on Saturday.
“It is not possible to choose only one (best) player because this tournament has two of them,” CONMEBOL said in a statement.
Messi dished up four goals and five assists in six matches.
Neymar delivered two goals and three assists in five games.
CONMEBOL’s technical study group added that the players had a positive impact on their teams and were “the reflection of the South American DNA in every match they played” in the Copa.
The study group included Colombia’s Francisco Maturana and Carlos Restrepo; Uruguay’s Daniel Bañales and Gerardo Pelusso; Argentina’s Sergio Batista and Nery Pumpido and Brazil’s Oswaldo de Oliveira.
Argentina captain Messi has so far played his best tournament with the national team since his debut in 2005. He is also comfortable as the leader on the pitch, in contrast with the shy Messi of past tournaments.
Meanwhile, Neymar has steered Brazil with his dribbles, passes and shots. Also, his exchanges with midfielder Lucas Paquetá have made Brazil more fluid up front.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports