With four goals and as many assists in just five games, Lionel Messi is finally living up to the expectations that Argentina have always expected him to. At the twilight of his career, the 34-year-old magician is not the trickster making jokes out of defenders like he once used to but instead has been a street-smart merchant who is putting in quantity for the lost quality.
it's a fact is known to many, if not to every football fan, that Messi's performance for Argentina has often left a lot to be desired; especially in big matches like the last three Copa America -- two of which were final losses -- and of course the 2014 World Cup final vs Germany.
However, this Copa America has been all about Messi's direct contribution to the majority of La Albiceleste's goals. To put it quantitatively, that's eight of the nine goals Argentina have scored this Brazilian summer. Not to forget his sniper-like accuracy with free kick which is surely giving a headache to their Tuesday's Copa America semi-final rivals Colombia. His consistency in dead-ball situations now sees him four goals short of Argentina's all-time record of 62 free-kick goals of Diego Maradona.
In fact, after the lows of 2020, Messi has blossomed to life in the year 2021. Since January, Messi has scored 33 goals and assisted a further 13 in 36 matches he appeared for Argentina and now-former club Barcelona.
28 of those goals came in Blaugrana colours during the year; resulting in the Copa Del Rey title. His monstrous form saw him win the Golden Boot once again with 30 goals in the season; 23 of which came in this calendar year over 19 games.