Lionel Messi is currently enjoying one of the best seasons in his career, and that is quite saying something. With just six months of the year gone, the Argentine wizard has already amassed 33 goals and 13 assists in just 36 appearances: statistics that would be normally be considered any other player’s best season by far.
Ever since the turn of the year, the attacking maestro has caught fire, turning out in splendid form for both club and country. He inspired FC Barcelona to a Copa del Rey victory and now looks to win his second Copa of the year in the form of the Copa America 2021 with Argentina.
Lionel Messi became Argentina’s all-time top scorer in the 4-1 win against Bolivia and currently leads the tournament on most attacking stats. He has the most goals scored (4), two more than his nearest competitor and the most assists (4) too.
As Argentina look to win their fifteenth Copa America and Messi his first, we take a look at his performances so far.
Lionel Messi in Copa America 2021
vs Chile (1-1):
In the tournament opener, Messi seemed in ominous form but not as inspired as what was to follow. He scored a brilliant freekick and had a further six shots as Argentina looked to start off with a win, but it was not to be as Eduardo Vargas tapped in a rebound off a missed penalty by Arturo Vidal. Messi was judged to be the man of the match.
vs Uruguay (1-0):
The first win of the tournament for the Albiceleste came against the Uruguayans as they ran out 1-0 winners. Messi was once again at the heart of things, creating the goal for Guido Rodriguez to score and bagged his second man of the match award in a row. This match also saw some vintage Messi dribbles as he finished the match with 9 out of 12 dribbles completed.
vs Paraguay (1-0)
In their second win of the tournament, Argentina scored an early goal through Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez assisted by Angel di Maria. In a match with not much action, there wasn’t much excitement as Messi seemed more relaxed than usual, seemingly saving his best for later.
vs Bolivia (4-1)
This was Lionel Messi’s best performance in the tournament by far. Messi had two goals and an assist, a penalty, a lobbed finish from a long pass, and a beautifully crafted ball for Alejandro Gomez to finish off. FootMob gave him a 9.5 rating as he piled up numbers of five completed dribbles, 95 touches and 2 big chances created. This result saw Argentina qualify top of their group for the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: vs Ecuador (3-0)
Ecuador were on the receiving end of another Lionel Messi masterclass as he scored his fourth goal and creating the third and fourth assists of the tournament. Messi had seven attempts on goal and missed a golden opportunity to score, but later made up for it with a swerving freekick that the goalkeeper Hernan Galindez could not stop.
Messi in international competitions
Lionel Messi has been unfortunate in international competitions so far in his career. Having reached three Copa America finals and a World Cup final with his country, Messi has lost every single time. He is yet to win his first major international competition, and Copa America 2021 is his latest attempt at winning it.
However, the left-footed wizard has won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Argentina completely dominated the tournament from start to finish, winning six out of six games, and four Argentine players finished on two goals scored: Ezequiel Lavezzi, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi.
With the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar coming up next year, winning the Copa America might be Messi’s last shot at the South American tournament.
Also Read: Copa America 2021: Top 5 forwards so far