Lionel Messi made history in the Argentina jersey on 29 June as he made his 148th appearance for the national team, going past Javier Mascherano’s all-time record of 147. Messi achieved the milestone in Argentina’s 4-1 victory over Bolivia in Copa America, that too in style.
Messi looked incredibly difficult to play against in the game. His trickery on the ball bamboozled the Bolivian defence while his passing efficiency unlocked spaces inside the penalty box in a magical fashion.
Argentina opened the scoring in the game as Messi set up Alejandro Gomez with a beautiful lobbed pass that deceived Bolivia’s defenders in the 6th minute of the game. Messi pulled the surrounding defenders towards him before displaying impeccable vision to give Gomez an excellent opportunity to score. The Sevilla man didn’t disappoint.
Messi then got the opportunity to put his name on the scoresheet himself as referee Andres Rojas blew his whistle and pointed to the spot at the 31st minute. Messi put the ball in the bottom right corner with an unstoppable shot that goalkeeper Carlos Lampe had no chance to save.
A goal and an assist didn’t satisfy the hunger of footballer Messi who convert a brilliant pass from his new Barcelona teammate Sergio Aguero to put the ball past the Bolivian goalkeeper Lampe with a stunning lob. The goal meant that in only the first 45 minutes, Messi had two goals and one assist to his name.
It was for the first time since October 2017 that Messi had scored two or more goals in a single game for Argentina in an official tournament. What is interesting to see is that off the 6 goals that Argentina have scored in Copa America this year, 3 have been scored by the Barca captain himself while 2 were his assists. That’s an 83% direct involvement.
Accumulating all goals and assists registered in 2021, Messi now has 41 goals+assists to his name this year. That’s more than any other player in the world. Bayern Munich and Poland’s Robert Lewandowski comes next with 38 (34 goals and 4 assists).
On the day where Messi surpassed Mascherano to become Argentina’s all-time record appearance-maker for La Albicelste, he truly showed why he is still one of the best in the world.