Argentina captain Lionel Messi once again led from the front, lifting his team to the final of the Copa America 2021. Messi’s side defeated Colombia on Tuesday (July 6) to book their berth in the final against Neymar Jr’s Brazil. After a Frank Fabra tackle, Messi was on the ground in pain and also injured his ankle which started bleeding, but that did not stop him from continuing on.
In fact, Colombia were handed six yellow cards over the course of the semifinal – which ended in a dramatic shoot-out – and all six of the cards were handed out for fouls on the talisman Messi. It was a big game for Argentina and Messi and they started the game in brilliant fashion.
Messi set up Lautaro Martinez, who broke the deadlock in the seventh minute of the game. But Argentina looked rusty after that and they paid heavily for that when Luis Diaz found the equaliser in the 61st-minute of the semis.
Messi was unstoppable, but he could not find the back of the net. Yet his effort and determination is surely got social media talking. Fans are saluting the Argentine skipper for his commitment to continue with a bleeding ankle.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
Messi was actually performing with one leg instead of being a cheerleader from bench. pic.twitter.com/EpAizjLFF5
— ganesh (@breathMessi21) July 7, 2021
— Hikmat Tareen (@HikmatTareen4) July 7, 2021
Lionel Messi's ankle has been bleeding after a challenge from Fabra. MY F*** GOAT pic.twitter.com/ExRWMarMMY
— SARA (@sarajbz) July 7, 2021
Messi has the most goals (4), most assists (5), most dribbles completed (33), most shots on target (11), most chances created (20) and most accurate final 3rd passes (102) in Copa America 2021.
Messi was all praise for goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez after Argentina beat Colombia via penalties on Tuesday in the Copa America semi-final. Admitting that penalty shootouts depend on luck, Messi confessed that he was confident Martinez, who has had a great tournament – would save at least two penalties. Messi also referred to Martinez as a ‘monster of a keeper.’
“Penalty Shootout is total luck, but we knew Emiliano will stop at least 2. He deserves it, he is a monster of a keeper,” Messi said after the match.
“At times it became difficult, but we have Emiliano Martinez who is a phenomenon. We trusted him. We achieved the goal of being able to play every game and now we’re going through the final,” he added further.
Aston Villa man, Martinez has been arguably the best goalkeeper of Copa America 2021 so far. With three clean sheets, the former Arsenal goalie made a total of four saves out of the six penalties he faced.