FOOTBALL fans hailed Lionel Messi for "ending the greatest rivalry in history" after Brazilian supporters chanted his name before their clash with Argentina.
Messi's world champions beat their South American counterparts 1-0 at the Maracana on Tuesday as Nicolas Otamendi's goal handed them a huge victory.
But the World Cup qualifier was marred by chaos as riot police were seen striking Argentinian fans inside the stadium.
Yet despite the manic scenes, there was also a section of the Brazilian faithful who welcomed Argentina's captain with open arms.
As he warmed up ahead of the game, the home supporters began singing Messi's name as he walked towards the corner of the pitch.
And the Barcelona legend, 36, acknowledged the sentiment by waving at them.
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The moment showed that Messi has somewhat transcended the Brazil-Argentina rivalry as a result of his legendary status.
And fans on social media were quick to hail the interaction.
One said: "Is that how they refer to the end of the greatest rivalry in history? What's next, everyone singing We Are the World?"
Another added: "This is too beautiful. How many athletes could say that they transcended nationalities and shirt colours?"
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A third replied: "Lionel Messi effect wherever he goes. Genius, unique 😍."
While a fourth responded: "Messi is the greatest in history. Exemplary sportsmanship. Anyone who lacks respect for him has no character. Applause from the rival is the minimum."
Argentina's win over Brazil leaves them top of the table in South American qualifying with five wins from six.
Brazil are down in sixth having lost their last three – with the previous two defeats coming against Uruguay and Colombia.
Messi, who earned his 180th cap for Argentina on Tuesday, has 106 goals for his country.
He is looking to lead his team out as World Cup winners at the Copa America in the USA next summer.
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