Lionel Messi has broken the record for most caps for the Argentina National Team by taking the field for his country for the 148th time against Bolivia in Copa America. Messi surpassed Javier Mascherano’s record of 147 caps for the nation.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 29, 2021
MESSI’S MEMORABLE 148th
A man for the big occasions, Messi looked determined to mark this auspicious day with a majestic performance. Unfortunately for Bolivia, they were to be on the opposite end of it.
In a commanding 4-1 victory over Bolivia, Lionel Messi scored two goals and set up one himself as he ran the Bolivians ragged all over the field. In some aspects, Messi’s mesmerising performance on this record-breaking day was an encapsulation of the man himself.
There was a sumptuous dinked ball to Papu Gomez in the sixth minute that Gomez took with aplomb to give Argentina the lead. The pass looked barely believable as Messi found Gomez while turning in a crowded space.
¡Un toque mágico del 🔟! Lionel Messi 🐐 asistiendo cómo sólo él puede hacerlo para el gol del Papu Gómez 🇦🇷
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) June 29, 2021
From then on, it was the Lionel Messi show as he scored a penalty with the keeper rooted to the spot. He completed his brace with his trademark effortless elegance as he ran clean through on goal before casually lifting the ball over the onrushing goalie to give Argentina an unassailable 3-0 lead before halftime. The 4-1 win confirmed the first position for Argentina in the group as the team, with Messi at its figurehead looks towards climbing the one mountain that has eluded Messi all his career.
ELUSIVE INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS
Despite now having the dual honour of being Argentina’s record appearance holder as well as record goalscorer, Messi’s relationship with Argentina has been full of peaks and troughs. Repeated failed attempts to bring a major international trophy to his homeland have even led him towards international retirement at various points.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 14, 2014
However, with the Argentina machine purring and humming this Copa America, expertly led by the Messi who shows no signs of letting opposition off the hook, this again is looked at as the best opportunity for Messi when it comes to getting an international trophy.
With the number of records the little magician has broken throughout his glittering career, it is unlikely that he pays too much attention to records anymore. Still, the element of this being for his national team would undoubtedly mean a little more to him.
One would assume that while personal records would be welcome, Messi has his sights set at this Copa America as his final frontier. If the Argentine keeps doing his thing, this could be the year Argentina finally get over the hump.