Messi closes in on another Pele record

Copa America

Lionel Messi is on the brink of equalling yet another impressive record after he led Argentina to a 3-0 win over Ecuador to progress to the semi-finals of the 2021 Copa America.  

The Argentine, who is edging closer to winning his first major international trophy with the Albiceleste, continues to shine as he leads the charts with four goals and four assists at the Copa, with his former Barcelona teammate Neymar behind him with two goals and two assists.  

Read: Messi inspires Argentina to Copa semi

Messi's latest performance also saw him move closer to yet another spectacular milestone – his stoppage-time free-kick against Ecuador was his 76th international goal, leaving him just one strike away from Pele's record for the most goals scored for a CONMEBOL side (77).   

This would not be the first time the Barcelona forward has overtaken the Brazilian legend for a record, with the Blaugrana star having previously become the player to score the most goals for a single club (now on 672 strikes for Barca), when he took his tally ahead of Pele's 643 goals for Santos FC.   

Messi's goal on Sunday morning also saw him join the top 10 all-time international goalscorers' list, but the 34-year-old is still 33 strikes behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Ali Daei, who jointly lead the ranking with 109 goals.    

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni had nothing but praise for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's latest display in a post-match press conference on Sunday.

"Leo's game, I honestly don't know if he's going to get tired of being praised every day," he said, according to Blah.   

"The best thing that can happen for us football lovers is that the stars play until any age they can and we enjoy it. Messi is enjoyed even by opponents when they play against him. We are talking about the best player of all time. 

"It is difficult for a player to be at his level. Neymar may at some point be a similar player but because of what he has done, is doing and will continue to do, we must remember him [Messi] for who he is." 

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