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Lionel Messi Joins Rival Cristiano Ronaldo by Winning 1st International Trophy, Comparing Their Medal Haul After Copa America

LIonel Messi (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo Credit: AP and Reuters)

LIonel Messi (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo Credit: AP and Reuters)

Lionel Messi's Copa America victory also ended his 28-year title drought for La Albiceleste.

Lionel Messi finally ended his trophy drought with Argentina after winning the Copa America 1-0 against Brazil at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium on Sunday. The latest victory has also culminated a 28-year title drought for La Albiceleste. It is their 15th Copa America trophy, which puts them on a par with toppers Uruguay and well ahead of Brazil with nine.

The Copa America summit clash pitted eternal rivals Argentina and Brazil wound to a close, where the 34-year-old who is seen as a miracle-dispenser for La Liga franchise Barcelona was able to erase the tag of the prodigal son who never delivered for the national side.

The talismanic striker had previously tasted defeat in three Copa finals and one World Cup final with Argentina. Such runner-up efforts at home and abroad often led critics to question his capabilities to lead his country to silverware. However, all that changed in Rio on Sunday and with it has restarted the comparison tussle with his biggest rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Even though Messi’s international achievement comes five years after Ronaldo won the European Championships with Portugal, the Argentine has won ten domestic league titles in his career with Barcelona, which is three more than Ronaldo.

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Nevertheless, the Portugal star beats his Argentina rival 5-4 when it comes to Champions League trophies. Ronaldo has also won an additional FIFA Club World Cup with four, but Messi leads 7-6 in domestic cup triumphs. All things considered, the Barcelona star is currently one trophy ahead of Juventus’ striker as their tallies currently stand at 25 and 24, respectively.

Surprisingly, the duo who are entering the final stages of their careers are having a good run of form by producing extraordinary performances. In the previous season, Messi was the top scorer in La Liga for the fifth successive campaign with 30 goals in 35 fixtures for Barcelona, while Ronaldo topped the Serie A goal scoring charts with Juventus as he netted 29 goals in 33 games.

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first published:July 12, 2021, 23:15 IST