As Argentina mourned defeat and the international retirement of superstar Lionel Messi, just metres away Chile – and one man in particular – were having the time of their lives.
Not only had he just secured a Copa America triumph with his country, but Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez was voted Player of the Tournament to cap off a memorable evening.
Chile’s victory came on penalties after neither team could find the net in 120 minutes of football, but Sanchez once again played his part – just as he had in the previous five matches.
Alexis Sanchez poses in the dressing room with his Golden Ball award (left) and the Copa America trophy
Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo kisses the Copa America trophy before lifting it in front of his team-mates
The Arsenal forward netted three times in the tournament – including a brace against Panama on June 15 – with only team-mate Eduardo Vargas, Messi and Gonzalo Higuain scoring more.
Celebrating both his team and individual success, the 27-year-old posted an image to his Instagram account from the Chile dressing room at the MetLife Stadium in New York.
With the impressive Copa America trophy on his left knee, his Golden Ball gong on his right knee and a winners’ medal round his neck, Sanchez was understandably delighted.
He wrote: ‘I am speechless. Just thank my team-mates and all the people who supported us … Now Chileans enjoy.’
Lionel Messi endured a more difficult evening, losing his fourth major final with Argentina before retiring
Gary Medel posted this picture inside the stadium alongside his Chilean team-mates in New York
The squad are sure to receive a heroes’ welcome when they arrive home from the USA after a second successive Copa America triumph.
There was slight concern from Arsenal fans, however, at the ice pack strapped to Sanchez’s left ankle, with some reports stating he left the stadium with a brace on his leg.
Sanchez will now enjoy some time off before returning to north London to begin pre-season with his club team-mates, injury-permitting.
Arsenal’s first pre-season fixture will see the Chilean return to America to face Chivas de Guadalajara on July 31, before their Premier League campaign begins against Liverpool on August 13.
Chile captain and Bravo also bagged the Golden Glove award given to the tournament’s best goalkeeper
Inter Milan’s Medel, formerly of Cardiff City, poses with the trophy after Chile beat Argentina in the final