Messi stars as Argentina outclass Italy to win 'Finalissima'

Argentina marked the revival of the Cup of Champions in style as they outclassed Italy 3-0 in a heavyweight clash billed as the 'Finalissima' at a raucous Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.

Argentina players celebrate winning the 'Finalissima' International friendly football match between Italy and Argentina at Wembley Stadium in London on June 1, 2022. Photo: AFP
Argentina team celebrate with the trophy after winning the Finalissima. Photo: Reuters

First-half goals by Lautaro Martinez and Angel di Maria put the south American champions in complete control against an Italy side who were back at Wembley 11 months after beating England to win the delayed Euro 2020.

Di Maria celebrates after scoring. Photo: AFP

With thousands of their supporters in the 87,000 crowd determined to turn north west London into Buenos Aires for the night, an Argentina side including Lionel Messi were simply too quick and slick for the lumbering Azzurri.

Messi in action. Photo: AFP

Martinez tapped home from close range in the 28th minute from Messi's low cross to reward Argentina's early dominance.

Inter Milan's Martinez then slid a pass through for Di Maria to double the lead with a dinked finish on the stroke of halftime to send the south American fans into raptures.

Argentina could have scored a sackful of goals after the break with Messi pulling the strings and Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma sparing his side a drubbing.

Substitute Paulo Dybala underlined Argentina's superiority with a drilled low finish in stoppage time.

It was a disappointing end to Italy stalwart defender Giorgio Chiellini's international career as the 37-year-old was substituted at halftime on his 117th and final appearance.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini leads their teams out before the match. Photo: Reuters

The Finalissima is the revival of the CONMEBOL-UEFA Cup of Champions that has been played only twice before, in 1985 and 1993.