Lionel Messi once single-handedly destroyed Brazil while playing for Argentina

  • Rob Swan

By his own admission, Lionel Messi has not played particularly well at this summer’s Copa America so far.

The 32-year-old has only scored one goal at the tournament – and that was from the penalty spot against Paraguay.

However, the most important thing for Messi will be that Argentina are through to the Copa America semi-finals after defeating Venezuela on Friday night.

Goals either side of half-time from Lautaro Martinez and Giovani Lo Celso sealed a 2-0 victory for La Albiceleste at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Messi, who has described the pitches in Brazil as “shameful”, will now be desperate to produce a match-winning performance against Argentina’s fierce rivals next Tuesday evening.

Win that game and Argentina will be through to the Copa America final, giving Messi another opportunity to finally land his hands on a major international trophy.

The Barcelona legend has already single-handedly destroyed Brazil once before – in a showpiece friendly at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey back in June 2012.

Messi, who was in the middle of the most prolific calendar year of his career, scored a stunning hat-trick to seal a famous 4-3 victory.

Romulo opened the scoring for Brazil midway through the first half before Messi turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes.

Oscar and Hulk then struck in the second half to give Brazil a 3-2 lead, only for Federico Fernandez to equalise for Argentina.

With the game delicately poised at 3-3, Messi scored one of the best goals of his career to win the match for his country.

Watch his goals from that match here…

“He does not surprise me anymore,” Sergio Aguero told reporters after Messi’s masterclass that day. “He is the world’s best player, no question about it.

“He won three (FIFA) Ballon d’Or and he is competing for another one. He will be the best player in the world until he retires.”

Seven years later and Messi, who now has five Ballon d’Or awards, is still widely regarded as the greatest footballer in the world.

And he can go a step closer to cementing his status as the best player ever by inspiring Argentina to victory in their next two Copa America matches.

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