To many, Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the history of the game. He has a raw footballing talent that has never been seen before and is able to change a game in seconds. The 27-year-old Argentine has had a massively successful career thus far and has consequently been awarded the Ballon D’or, the most prestigious individual award in the sport, an incredible 5 times for his immense talent. Additionally, at the club level, Messi has won virtually everything there is to win. The man has won 3 UEFA Champions League titles, 8 La Liga titles, 4 Spanish Cups, and 3 FIFA World Club Cups with Barcelona, making him one of the most decorated footballers ever.
However, despite all of his success with Barcelona, when compared to the likes of Pelé and Maradona in the discussion for best ever player, many see Messi’s lack of international success with Argentina as what still puts him behind the two soccer legends. While he is the second highest scorer in the history of the national team, and will likely soon become the top scorer, Messi only has an Olympic Gold Medal to show from his 11 years with the national side.
Despite coming very close, losing in extra time in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final to Germany, and losing in a penalty shootout to Chile in the final of last summer’s Copa America, Messi has still not delivered a major trophy for Argentina. Lionel Messi commented on how important winning the upcoming Copa America Centenario is to him, saying, “We will try our best to win the Copa, because for us it is very important. More so, it has been a very long time since Argentina has won anything, and this group came very close in the World Cup and at the last Copa America. I think we deserve to be champions of an important competition.”
Winning the tournament would take a massive weight off the Argentine superstar’s shoulders by giving him the international success for which he has been longing. Bringing back the trophy to Argentina would help finally give him one of the missing pieces to complete his legacy.
Argentina are in Group D of the tournament alongside Bolivia, Panama, and last summer’s Copa America winners, Chile. Topping the group ahead of Chile will be key for their success in the tournament and Argentina will need Messi to perform at his best for them to be able to raise the trophy on June 26th.