Chicago, June 11 (IANS) Argentina forward Lionel Messi said he was grateful for the support he got from his fans and team-mates as he came back from an injury lay-off and scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Panama in the Copa America Centenario football tournament.
Messi made a second half appearance for the 2014 World Cup runners-up and helped them notch a 5-0 win over Panama here on Friday.
The win also ensured Argentina advance to the quarter-finals after two successive triumphs in the competition.
“I am grateful for all this support,” Messi was quoted as saying by espnfc. “It was great to be here, especially because of the public. I am very grateful.
“I lost the pain gradually. Then, I managed to make my first goal. It was a team effort, in a tense game, with very tall grass, dry. It was tricky, but we got where we wanted.”
Argentina lost the last Copa America to Chile via a penalty shoot-out but they are on their way to end a 23-year-old wait, insisted Messi.
“We are doing a good job, growing little by little. By winning the first two games, it is very good,” the FC Barcelona star said.