Barcelona captain Lionel Messi turned on the style again at the Copa America on Monday, producing a sensational nutmeg during Argentina’s 1-0 win over Paraguay.
Messi caught the eye with a moment of sublime skill as he saw off the attentions of Paraguay’s Santiago Arzamendia by casually nudging the ball through his legs, as shown by Fox Soccer.
Commentator Ray Hudson couldn’t resist offering his thoughts on Messi’s latest trick in his usual style.
Coach Lionel Scaloni spoke to reporters after the match and admitted that his team continues to rely on Messi, as reported by Goal. He said, “The reality is that Messi has been playing every game and it is very difficult not to count on him. Even though he is tired, he continues to make the difference.”
The victory guarantees La Albiceleste a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament ahead of the team’s final group match in a week’s time against Bolivia.
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Messi Matches Mascherano
Messi’s appearance against Paraguay also saw the captain reach another incredible landmark. The forward has now matched Javier Mascherano’s all-time record of 147 caps for Argentina.
The Barcelona star sent a message to his former club and international teammate after the win on social media. He wrote, “Another important win to keep growing. I’m proud to have been able to wear the sky blue and white shirt as many times as my friend Masche, who I love very much and have always respected and admired.”
Mascherano was quick to offer his congratulations with a post on Instagram. The former Barcelona star wrote, “Congratulations Leo for having reached the record appearances for Argentina. Nobody better than you to continue growing the legend and be the player with the most appearances in our National Team. Congratulations to the whole team for the victory and many more!”
Time For Messi to Rest?
Messi will get some time to rest now and could even skip the game against Bolivia too with qualification already assured. The Barcelona captain has played every minute of Argentina’s three games so far at the Copa America, but Scaloni also hinted he could rotate his squad, as reported by Mundo Albiceleste.
“What I’m worried about today is the physical conditions of the players. The conditions were not the best to play in. The second half is also a credit to Paraguay. Obviously there are things to improve, like in every match,” he said. “It’s a possibility that in the next match we rotate. Having qualified gives us peace of mind. Now we have to recover and train.”
Messi’s next appearance will see him add another record to his vast collection and move out on his own as Argentina’s most-capped player. Resting the captain would be a big call by Scaloni, but he will certainly want Messi at his best for the business end of the tournament.