Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi produced a masterclass performance as Argentina secured a convincing 4-0 victory over the United states to ease into the final of the Copa America Centenario on Tuesday.
Ezequiel Lavezzi, who fractured his left arm during the game and won’t play any part in the final, opened the scoring for the Albiceleste before Messi scored a spectacular free-kick to make it 2-0. Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain scored twice after the break to put Argentina into the final.
Once again, it was Messi, who made all the difference. Messi didn’t start in any of the group stage games but still managed to score three goals for his team. He has always been a great goal scorer, and something more than that. He is a great team player as well. The number of chances he creates for others is simply astounding and takes pride in team performance rather than individual glory.
Messi produced a sublime chip over the top in the US penalty area for Lavezzi to score the opening goal. In the 32nd minute, the Barcelona star put Argentina 2-0 up with a breathtaking free-kick from 30 yards out. It was a landmark goal in his personal career, as he now holds the new record of being Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s 54 goal tally.
“I am happy to have surpassed Batistuta’s record and I want to thank my teammates, it’s theirs as well,” Messi, as humble as ever, told reporters after the game.
Messi was involved in the build-up to the fourth goal when he picked Higuain with a pin-point pass; the Napoli striker completed the rout with a simple tap in after 85 minutes.
Is Messi the greatest ever? Well, the debate can go on and on. But, there’s no doubt that he is arguably one of the finest goalscorers in the history of the game. At 29, he is already La Liga’s all-time leading goal scorer, Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer and now has achieved the distinction with his country as well.
The only thing missing in his trophy cabinet is a winners medal with his country. He came close to winning the World Cup in 2014 and Copa America in 2015 but narrowly lost both the finals to Germany and Chile respectively. Check his record-breaking goal for Argentina below: