Lionel Messi has been presented with a glorious opportunity to win his first piece of international silverware.
Messi reaches Copa America final
The Barcelona superstar will line up for the fourth Copa America final of his illustrious career in just a few days’ time and will hope to make it the first that ends with him lifting the prestigious trophy.
All eyes were on Messi when Argentina lined up for their semi-final with Colombia on Tuesday night and their path to the final certainly wasn’t a simple one.
Varane to Man Utd CLOSER | Transfer News (Football Terrace)
Despite Lautaro Martinez firing Argentina into the lead within the opening 10 minutes, Colombia hit back in the second-half with Luis Diaz’s goal taking the match all the way to a penalty shootout.
In the end, much like World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands in 2014, the footballing gods looked fondly upon Argentina with Messi scoring from the spot in a 3-2 shootout triumph.
Messi’s bloodied ankle
However, the moment he fired his spot-kick so emphatically past David Ospina must have been a lot more painful than you’d imagine based on images that have emerged of Messi’s left ankle.
Photographs and videos have shown that the Barcelona skipper played great swathes of his masterclass against Colombia with a rather painful-looking bloodied ankle.
You know the bleeding is bad when it really starts to seep through your socks, never mind forming a pretty large pool around an area that – let’s face it – is pretty darn crucial for playing football.
Frank Fabra’s crunching tackle
But alas, you wouldn’t have known that Messi was bleeding from the ankle above his deadliest weapon when you saw how he danced his way around Colombia and scored such an emphatic penalty.
And that’s especially the case when you watch the tackle that left Messi bleeding from the ankle in the first place, which happened more than hour before the winning penalty was eventually scored.
According to The Sun, substitute Frank Fabra was the culprit with his crunching tackle, which you can check out down below, ensuring that Messi’s left sock wasn’t quite so white afterwards.
Sheesh. Rather you than us, Leo.
Messi rolling with the punches
We’ve seen on countless occasions over the years that Messi can get some seriously tough treatment from opposing players, so it’s only natural that he’s picked up a few bumps and scrapes.
And while a bleeding ankle isn’t exactly a broken leg or punctured lung, it surely couldn’t have been comfortable to play with for more than an hour during one of the biggest games of your career.
But alas, it takes more than a crunching tackle to hack down one of the most bullish dribblers in the business with Messi showing his strength in key moments during the Colombia win.
Make no mistake that regardless of whether Messi lifts the Copa America trophy on Saturday or not that he will have given blood, sweat and tears to the cause of ending Argentina’s trophy drought.