Lionel Messi and Argentina are through to the semi-final of the Copa America after defeating Colombia 2-0 on Thursday.
Goals from Lautaro Martinez and Giovani Lo Celso handed Argentina an encouraging win that sets up a meeting against rivals Brazil for a place in the final.
This is a huge moment for Messi. The Barcelona forward is desperate to win a major trophy with his country, having lost four finals in nine years, and has another opportunity to do so.
But, funnily enough, we haven’t seen the best of the 32-year-old in Brazil. Something that he will readily admit.
“The truth is that it’s not been my best Copa America, not what I expected,” Messi, who has scored just once in four matches, said after the win, per Goal.
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Messi switched up his traditional pre-match routine on Thursday by singing the national anthem.
The forward has faced criticism from his own country for not singing the national anthem.
Messi sings the national anthem
But that wasn’t the case before the Venezuela game. He was visibly singing along.
That’ll make headlines in Argentina.
Messi was quizzed about it at full-time.
“Today I wanted to sing the anthem, and well, I sang it!” he told reporters, per Fox Sports Asia.
But Argentine journalists still found a way to criticise him.
Remember, this is how he looked during the anthem before Argentina played Croatia at last year’s World Cup.
Messi typically stands with his lips sealed while the Argentine song plays.
But according to a mascot who stood in front of Messi before a game, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner simply hums along.
“It was incredible when Messi came in, and it was something that I will never be able to experience again,” Tomas Chavez told Marca.
“He hugged me and his hand was bigger than my head, that’s why he laughed.
“I hugged him and told him a lot of things: that I loved him, that he is my idol, that I always wanted to meet him and never had the opportunity [to do so].
“[During the anthem] he has his mouth shut and hums the anthem.
“It’s true that he does not sing the hymn, but he hums it. I heard it.”
So, Messi singing the national anthem resulted in a 2-0 win. He should probably keep it up.