Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the best footballers of all-time, but the Argentina star is only one win away from becoming the greatest.
Messi is now a five-time world player of the year and an eight-time La Liga winner. He has lifted the Champions League trophy four times. His list of personal honors goes on and on.
Yet, there is a major title that has eluded the Argentine magician.
Messi and Co. went down to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, before losing a penalty shoot-out to Chile in the 2015 variant of the Copa America 12 months later.
But after back-to-back heartbreaks, Argentina has qualified for the final for Copa America in the United States, and will have the chance to exact their revenge against Chile.
“Hopefully we can end with a win, because we deserve this.”
Messi, born in Rosario, Argentina, moved to Barca at the age of 13 after signing to their famous ‘La Masia’ academy with the Catalan giants. From a young age, it was clear there was something really special with Messi.
Messi edged his way into the first-team and became a crucial part of Barca’s title, despite his youth, playing and learning his trade alongside the most talented stars of the world, like Xavi, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o.
Messi is definitely the best in the world at the minute – even with some stiff competition from Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo – and has something more about his game, something that makes him appear nearly super human.
Argentina are in tantalising form heading into Sunday’s final in New Jersey, and are favorites to taste Copa glory. Messi has overcome a back injury that kept him out of their tournament opener, and has since gone on to score five goals and four assists on the way to the final.
Argentina’s goalscoring record broke in the process, going above Gabriel Batistuta with his 55th international goal in their own semi-final win over the United States.
Maradona never won it. It was never won by Pele. But Messi is merely 90, and can win the Copa America – or maybe 120 – minutes away from cementing himself as the greatest footballer of all-time. This is his moment. This is Messi’s opportunity to go from good to great.