Having won all that is there to win for his club, but yet to win any major trophy for his country, it’s now or never for Lionel Messi.
Tagged as the Greatest Of All Time(G.O.A.T) to ever graced the football stage. The 34-year-old, who is currently without a club after his Barcelona contract expired this summer, will fancy his chances of lifting his first major trophy for his country.
One thing that’s left for Messi is to win a major trophy for his country, and the little magician has tried having reached one World Cup final and three Copa America final without a win, and that evening in the Estadio do Maracana will always be part of the Lionel Messi story. He could never hope to eclipse what Diego Maradona had done in Mexico in 1986, and that moment was his opportunity but he couldn’t bring the World Cup back from Brazil.
Twice, Messi has reached the final of the Copa America since then and Argentina have been beaten on both occasions on penalties. Twice, Messi has been close to retiring from international football and he’s now on the verge of a fourth Copa America final.
Messi and his teammates will face a Colombia that’s high on confidence after defeating Uruguay 4-2 on penalties, with former Arsenal goalkeeper saving two spot kicks in the shootout.
Messi already has four goals and four assists – topping both charts. In the quarter-final against Ecuador, he set up the first two goals before scoring the third in stoppage time which is his second free-kick goal of the tournament, two more than have been scored in total at Euro 2020.
Critics have questioned his game play, but his continuous performance at the highest level for his country won’t go unnoticed with his involvement in eight of Argentina’s 10 goals in Brazil and played the part he played in the build-up of the other two.
Messi’s counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo’s international career puts him on a higher level than Messi having led his Portugal side to win the 2016 European Championship and the UEFA Nations League in 2019, and Messi’s only major honour at the international level is the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Ronaldo’s international achievements will be considered greater and only a win over Colombia tonight and Brazil on Saturday could change that.
At the ongoing tournament, Messi’s appearance against Bolivia means he has surpassed Javier Mascherano 147th appearance record, making him the most capped Argentina player. He’s also just one goal away from Pele’s record for international goals scored of 77.
Messi has this to say when he was asked about Pele’s record:
“I always say individual achievements are secondary and we’re here for something else.
“I want to thank the group for the hard work they’ve put in. We’ve been away from our families for many days now.
“We have an objective to achieve here and we’re only thinking about that, We’re the only national team not to have broken the bubble.”
Messi will be looking forward to defeating a formidable Colombia side and a Neymar-led Brazil and hopefully luck would be on his side as he’s just two wins away from Glory.
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