Lionel Messi was at his best as Argentina faced Ecuador in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Copa America 2021 on Saturday night in Brazil. The maestro assisted two goals to give his team a 2-0 lead before finding the back of the net in the injury time converting a direct free-kick - his 58th of professional career that also moved him one past his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
After setting up teammates Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez, Messi capped of a memorable individual performance when he put the ball past Ecuador goalkeeper cleverly after spotting him jump off the line and directing the ball to the far post.
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 4, 2021
The scoreline may suggest it was a sail for Argentina but as Messi pointed out after the match, it was exact opposite. “The truth is it was a very tough match. We knew the difficulty of playing Ecuador, who work hard with players who are fast, physically strong, young," said Messi.
“It was a battle until we managed the (second) goal," he added.
Messi was the talk of the match but he said the goal for him is to win the title. “I always say it: individual [moments] are secondary, we are here for something else," Messi said. “I want to congratulate the group for the work they are doing - we have been away from our families for many days."
Argentina next face Colombia in the semifinal on Tuesday while 24 hours before, host Brazil take on Peru in the first semifinal.