If you’ve seen Lionel Messi in recent weeks, you’ll have noticed that the superstar is sporting a bit of facial hair.
But it’s not necessarily because he thinks it looks good, but because he’s feeling very superstitious.
The 28-year-old is currently in the Argentina camp as they compete in Copa America - a competition that they haven’t won since 1993. And Messi feels that his beard - rather than his incredible ability - could be the key to success.
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The five-time Ballon d’Or winner missed the opening fixture of the tournament in which his side beat Chile 2-1. However, he made his mark on the tournament in the second group match against Panama. Messi came on in the 61st minute and scored a brilliant hat-trick as his team won 5-0, sending them through to the quarter-finals.
And after a solid start to the competition, Messi admits there is no way that he would be allowed to shave his beard.
“If I lose the beard the others would kill me,” he told AS.
“We believe this is a kabbalah so we will be able to break our bad run and win the trophy.
“There's no way I'm shaving it off now, my team mates wouldn't let me.”
Since their last Copa America victory 13 years ago, the Argentines have reached the final on three separate occasions - in 2004, 2007 and 2015 - but now have a fantastic opportunity of tasting glory this time around.
That’s because both Brazil and Uruguay have already crashed out of the tournament leaving Messi and co. clear favourites.
Messi on the international scene
Many believe that Messi has to dominate on the international stage before he can be considered the greatest footballer of all time. A Copa America victory would signal his first major trophy win for Argentina after losses in the 2007 and 2015 final while he also suffered heartbreak in the 2014 World Cup final.
While he may not have won a trophy for his country, Messi is closing in on Javier Zanetti’s record appearances. At the age of 28, Messi needs 34 more appearances to equal Zanetti’s tally while he needs just three goals to equal Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s all-time record goalscorer.
However, on the club scene, Messi is certainly no stranger to silverware. Following a domestic double last season, Messi has now won 29 trophies for Barcelona since making his debut in 2004.
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