His inauspicious Argentina debut was a distant memory. Lionel Messi, his country’s most captained player, became the winner of Monday’s Copa America wins over Bolivia 4-1.
Messi, a perennial candidate in the “Greatest of All Time” debate, marked the occasion with a stunning performance. He scored twice and set up another in his 148th appearance on the national team, breaking Javier Mascherano’s record.
This was a far cry of his 2005 debut when he was sent home after only 43 seconds.
The 18-year-old, who was playing in the friendly against Hungary in Budapest in the second half, was sent to the stands as a substitute. He was then red-carded after swinging his arm at an opponent.
Argentina’s record-holder, Messi’s 75th and 74th international goals respectively helped extend their unbeaten streak to 17 games on Monday. They also secured a tie against Ecuador in the quarterfinals.
Argentina has not won a major title in Copa America since 1993. Messi, who has been awarded every honor at Barcelona, is looking for success in a white and blue shirt.
The 34-year old said, “I have been fortunate enough to win everything at club and individual level and it’d be wonderful also to win something for the national side,” on the eve of this year’s Copa. It’s my dream.
His Spanish club was among those who sent their congratulations on Monday for his record-breaking feat: “A true legend Leo!” We wish you all the best.
Messi has been in the finals of three Copa America competitions as well as the 2014 World Cup final. All three were lost by Argentina. They are however in great form and have not lost since 2019 as they enter the Copa’s last eight.
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