Alves: Messi must ignore critics after Copa loss

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The Argentina star announced his international retirement after erring from the spot in Sunday’s final, but his long-time team-mate says he must block out negative voices

Dani Alves has told former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi to ignore his critics after his Copa America final penalty miss.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner failed from the spot in Argentina’s shootout defeat to Chile and announced his international retirement after Sunday’s game.

Messi lost all four of his major finals with his national team and this was a third in three years, coming after the 2014 World Cup defeat to Germany and another setback against Chile in the 2015 Copa.

However, Alves, who has this week joined Juventus from Barca, had comforting words for his great friend.

“I did not see the end because it was late and I had commitments,” he said. “No one can take away Leo’s greatness.

“It’s a pleasure to be his friend. He must be with people who respect him and not with those who disparage him.

“It is a minority who criticise him and he should not give them importance.”

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