Lionel Messi Handed ‘New’ Nickname at the Copa America

Lionel Messi

Getty Lionel Messi at the Copa America

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi appears to have picked up a new nickname at the Copa America which can be traced back to a legendary goal he scored for the Catalan giants against Getafe over 14 years ago.

‘Ankara’ Messi was used by commentators during the captain’s two-goal performance in a 4-1 win over Bolivia on Monday and was even picked up by Argentina’s Professional League.

The name comes from the legendary individual goal Messi scored for Barcelona against Getafe in April 2007 and the iconic commentary from Joaquim Maria Puyal that accompanied the strike, a shown by 433.

The Barcelona captain was called ‘Ankara Messi’ again by commentators during Argentina’s win over Bolivia and the name was noticed by Argentine comedian Lucas Rodriguez who had a little fun with the story and then saw the nickname spread all over social media.

It remains to be seen quite what Messi thinks of the nickname or if it will stick, but we may see with Argentina set to continue at the Copa America. La Albiceleste’s win over Bolivia means the team go on to play Ecuador in the quarter-finals of the competition. The winners will face either Colombia or Uruguay for a place in the Copa America final.

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Bolivia Goalkeeper Praises Messi

There was praise for Messi after the win over Bolivia from goalkeeper Carlos Lampe even though he conceded four goals in the match, two of which came from the boot of the Argentine captain.

Lampe congratulated Messi after the full-time whistle and the two players shared a warm embrace as they walked off the pitch, as shown by Fox Sports.

The goalkeeper spoke about his encounter with Messi after the match and how much he admires the Argentina superstar. He told Diario Ole, “I admire Messi for how he is as a person, humble, always attentive to greet all the guys, and I believe that the fundamental thing is the person, we are all going to stop being footballers but the person remains. He’s the best.”

Messi’s goals against Bolivia means he is now on 75 for the national team and is just two away from matching Pele’s record of international goals. The Brazil legend scored 77 times for the Selecao during his career.

Barcelona Waiting On Messi

Meanwhile, back in Barcelona supporters are still waiting for Messi to confirm he will be staying at the Catalan club. The 34-year-old’s contract expires at midnight on June 30 and an extension has yet to be announced.

President Joan Laporta has urged supporters not to worry about the situation or the prospect of Messi becoming a free agent. As reported by Mundo Deportivo, Laporta was met by reporters on Wednesday and when asked about Messi said, “be calm.”

The delay in announcing Messi’s new contract is because of “tax issues,” according to Catalunya Radio. The Argentine will sign a deal that will see him stay at Barcelona for another two seasons and then head to Major League Soccer while also working as an ambassador for the club.

The third stage of the new contract would see Messi return to Barcelona after he’s hung up his boots and take on a non-playing role in the “football arena” for another five years.

READ NEXT: PSG’s ‘New Messi’ Set For Barcelona Return: Report

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