Lionel Messi wins first career international trophy, sets Copa America records

Lionel Messi wins first career international trophy, sets Copa America records

Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to a Copa America win on his sixth attempt at winning the competition as the Albiceleste ran out 1-0 winners against Brazil. This is the player’s first major international trophy in his career after reaching the Copa America final thrice before and the World Cup final once.


Messi was in imperious form throughout the tournament, with his four goals and five assists being responsible for 75% of Argentina’s total goals scored. Winning both the best player and the top scorer awards, here are a few records that were broken by the greatest footballer of all time on the way to Argentina’s fifteenth Copa America victory.

Records held by Lionel Messi in the Copa America:

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi finally wins an international trophy after leading Argentina to four finals previously

Most international appearances for Argentina

With his appearance against Bolivia in the final group stage match, Lionel Messi became Argentina’s all-time most capped player. He overtook Javier Mascherano, who was on 147 matches played, and currently stands at 151 caps for the national team with his appearance in the final against Brazil.

First Argentine to feature at six Copa Americas

Lionel Messi became the first Argentine footballer to have played in six different editions of the Copa America tournament. Previously tied with Mascherano with five tournaments each, Messi broke this record with his tournament-opener appearance against Chile. Currently, the overall record is held by Ecuador’s Alex Aguinaga, who has 25 appearances over 8 editions of the competition.


Most assists overall, and most assists provided in a single eiditon

Lionel Messi is Copa America’s all-time leading creator, with 17 assists over his six editions of the tournament. The Copa America 2021 saw Messi at his creative best, with the Argentine maestro creating five goals for his teammates to finish off. This also led to him breaking the record of most assists made in a single edition of the tournament, with all of his assists crucial to Argentina winning the tournament.

Lionel Messi ecstatic after winning the Copa America with Argentina

Joint-most appearances in Copa America

Currently, Messi has the most number of matches played in the tournament with 34 Copa America appearances for his country. This is a joint record that the player holds, with Chile legend Sergio Livingstone also making 34 appearances. Messi will be 38 years of age by the time the next edition of the Copa America kicks off, so if he goes on to claim the outright award remains to be seen.

Most man-of-the-match awards won, and most MOTMs won in a single edition

With fourteen man-of-the-match awards won in his 34 appearances, Lionel Messi is recognised as the best player on the pitch a staggering 42% of the time he plays. His best haul to date came in the 2015 edition of the Copa America, with a record-breaking four MOTMs in seven matches, and he equalled that record in the recently concluded 2021 edition with a further four MOTM awards.

Most direct freekicks scored

The 2016 Copa America saw Messi score one of the best freekicks of his career against the USA, curling an impeccable free-kick perfectly into the top right corner: a goal that was deemed worthy of a Puskas award nomination. That was just one out of four direct freekicks he has scored so far with his deadly left foot in Copa America. With his two freekicks scored in both 2016 and 2021, Messi has the most freekicks ever scored in the competition.


Also Read: Copa America 2021 Brazil vs Argentina Player Ratings: Argentina crowned the champions of the Copa America after 28 long years