Lionel Messi breaks Instagram record with most-liked picture of all time

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Lionel Messi finally put some international football demons to bed as he helped inspire Argentine to Copa America glory, beating fierce rivals Brazil in the process.

As a result of the success, Messi also broke a record that was previously held by long-term Balon D'or rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the wake of the victory on July 10, Messi took to Instagram to toast their triumph with a picture of him in the changing room proudly holding the trophy alongside the caption: "What a beautiful madness! This is unbelievable! Thank you, God! We are the champions!"

As things stand, the photo has been liked more than 20 million times, thus making the image the most popular Instagram post ever posted by an athlete.

Ronaldo's record lasted just under a year, as the previously most liked post came in the form of his touching tribute to the late Diego Maradona after his death in late 2020.

Coincidentally, Messi's own tribute to Maradona, someone he worked closely with in the international set-up, also featured in the top 20 most popular posts from an athlete, having been liked 16.4 million times, placing it 16th in the list.

The tournament success was well-earned, with Messi comfortably the player of the tournament, a constant thorn in the side of just about every team he faced.

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However, arguably Messi's most quiet night came in the final, where it was left to Paris Saint-Germain star Angel Di Maria to step up and notch the matchwinner at the Maracana.

Having experienced so much heartache on the international stage before, Messi's elation and relief at the full-time whistle were obvious, as he fell to his knees in celebration.

The trophy marked Argentina's first piece of silverware in 28 years, mainly down to the genius of the Barcelona skipper, who gave an insight into how he was feeling to reporters after the full-time whistle.

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Messi's joy at the full-time whistle was obvious for all to see
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

"It's crazy, the happiness I am feeling is not something that could be explained. I’ve left sad before but I knew that at one point it was going to happen."

The victory will put an end to the argument that Messi does not deliver at the highest stage for his country, as he joins Ronaldo on one international trophy apiece after the Portugal skipper won the Euros in 2016.

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