Lionel Messi will contest the fourth Copa America final of his career on Saturday night.
Messi’s hunt for international glory
Seldom does a month go by where the Barcelona skipper’s absence of an international trophy isn’t used as ammunition in the wider debate of the greatest footballer in history.
While Messi does indeed have an Olympic goal medal and U20 World Cup title in his trophy cabinet, the 34-year-old has hitherto failed in his attempts to win either the World Cup or Copa America.
However, that could all change in just a matter of days with Messi and Argentina booking themselves a place in the climax of Copa America 2021 where they will face hosts Brazil.
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Argentina 1-1 Colombia (3-2)
It goes without saying that the two-time world champions will be underdogs against the might of Neymar and co, but you get the feeling that the stars are aligning for Messi this summer.
Well, anyone would be forgiven for getting that impression during Argentina’s semi-final victory as they went all the way to penalties against Colombia.
However, you certainly couldn’t accuse Messi of not throwing the kitchen sink at Colombia before proceedings turned to a shootout because the 34-year-old was playing at his spectacular best.
Messi shines vs Colombia
Twitter really has become a gold mine for clips of Messi spreading his magic at the Copa America in recent days and the Colombia result has done nothing but unearth some extra nuggets.
And one of our particular favourites has shone a light on one of the more underrated aspects to Messi’s game, attracting thousands of retweets and ‘likes’ in the process.
That’s because Messi demonstrated his thoroughly under-appreciated strength when he embarked on a first-half run where Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina did everything in their power to stop him.
Messi’s tenacious run vs Colombia
With manhandling that bordered on rugby tackles to Messi literally being brought down to the turf, it’s staggering that the serial Ballon d’Or winner somehow managed to complete the run.
But when you’re talking about one of the greatest athletes of all time, should we really be surprised? Check out the swashbuckling footage of Messi in full flow down below:
Oh, but did we mention that Messi was up to similar tricks later in the game? Well, strap yourselves in because the Barca star was leaving Colombia players strewn all over the pitch here:
The entire Colombia team could have been hanging off Messi’s jersey and there wasn’t a chance in hell that he was going to concede possession.
Messi: Destined for silverware?
Besides, let’s face it, Messi would have been well within his rights to come crashing down to the turf, roll around for three minutes and appeal to the referee has though he’d been accosted.
Ok, that’s a deliberate exaggeration, but the fact of the matter is that we should applaud Messi for both staying on his feet and showing us the real physicality that comes with world-class dribbling.
And it’s exactly that sort of tenacity that will be required for Messi to end his international hoodoo and win that long-awaited trophy against Brazil on Saturday night. It has to be happen… right???