CONMEBOL presents Lionel Messi with statue for federation's museum

The tributes continue to pour in for Lionel Messi following Argentina's World Cup triumph.

South American soccer's governing body on Monday presented the the 35-year-old Argentine star a with statue, which will be placed in the CONMEBOL museum next to those of legendary players Pele and Diego Maradona.

Messi also received replicas of the World Cup and the Finalissima trophy, which Argentina won against Italy, during the ceremony before the Copa Libertadores draw. His teammates and coach Lionel Scaloni received miniature trophies as well, including that of the 2021 Copa America lifted in Brazil.

"We are living a very special and beautiful moment, getting a lot of love," Messi said during the tribute. "It was time for a South American team to win the World Cup again."

Argentina beat Panama 2-0 on Thursday in Buenos Aires in its first international friendly since winning the World Cup title in Qatar last December and Messi scored his 800th goal for club and country in the win.

Scaloni's team will face Curacao on Tuesday to celebrate with its fans in the countryside city of Santiago del Estero.