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The intractable Lionel Messi looks for a ‘Maracanazo’ with Argentina

The intractable Lionel Messi looks for a ‘Maracanazo’ with Argentina

His influence has been so marked in the Copa América-2021, that in Brazil some say that Argentina is a team of one. From him, from Lionel Messi, from La Pulga, whom many consider the best footballer in history. From the ’10’ that can now seal his legend with a ‘Maracanazo’.

His last exhibition was against Colombia, on Tuesday night in Brasilia. There, in the capital of Argentina’s greatest soccer rival, he signed his sixth superlative game with Albiceleste, a new show that put his team in the final of the tournament against the powerful Brazil.

At the Mané Garrincha stadium, the Argentine captain revalidated the superior level that he showed since the debut of the team led by his namesake Lionel Scaloni in the Copa América-2021 against Chile (1-1) in Rio de Janeiro.

That night, with his silk left foot, he scored the first of four goals he has celebrated in ‘enemy’ territory on a free kick. One more and he will equal Pelé, with 77, as the top scorer of the South American teams.

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In the following game, against Uruguay, he counted the first of the five assists that he carries in his backpack. The last one was precisely against the coffee growers, after dragging two defenders and enabling Lautaro Martínez in the 7th minute.

Three minutes earlier he had dodged three Colombian players and crossed with the right, but the Inter Milan forward headed wide.

That was the magic lapse, because he also had sacrifice and marks when the Tricolor tied. Even with his left foot bleeding, after a strong tackle from Frank Fabra, in 48, he searched for it to crash a shot into the right post by David Ospina.

On penalties he was the first to kick. He placed her in the left corner of Ospina, who went to the other side. He celebrated the other two goals from his compatriots and the three saves by Emiliano Martínez as if they were his own, as if each one were the ticket to a new life. And they are.

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– “Another dimension” –

Messi’s statistics have been above average, his friend Neymar, with whom he will meet on Saturday at the Maracana, has barely approached him, but the influence on the operation of Argentina, with unusual runs to defend balls in the last minutes, it can hardly be quantified.

«In the Copa América we are enjoying one of the best versions of Messi in the national team. Perhaps the best. Gravitant, influential, decisive, “wrote former striker Hernán Crespo in the Argentine newspaper La Nación. «Messi sees further, he sees what we humans do not see. Messi is in another mental dimension ».

Messi’s superb football with this version of his national team, which has struggled to surround him, finds him right in the final stretch of his career and without a team, after the end of his contract with Barcelona.

At the age of 34, La Pulga is walking towards his fifth final with the blue and white jacket. The previous four – three in the 2007, 2015 and 2016 American Cups – and one in the 2014 World Cup – he lost.

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One of them, that of the 2007 South American tournament, against Brazil; the other, that of the World Cup, in Brazil. The Latin American giant seems to mark its national trajectory by fire.

Is the third time will be the charm? Can he break a 28-year drought without Argentina winning the oldest national team tournament in the world?

His friend Neymar, with whom he formed a historic trident at Barza together with Uruguayan Luis Suárez, opted for La Albiceleste in the match against Colombia.

“I support Argentina, because I have friends there, and in the final Brazil will win,” he said after the defending champion ‘Seleçao’ defeated Peru on Monday in the other semi.

The daring desire can pay dearly. An Argentine lifting a trophy at the Maracana after defeating Brazil in a final? Risk another ‘Maracanazo’? Messi shows game by game that he can do everything. (AFP)

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