Messi ignores Barca speculation to turn in stunning Copa display

Robin Bairner
Barcelona's Lionel Messi challenges for possession playing for Argentina, Copa America 2021

Barcelona's Lionel Messi challenges for possession playing for Argentina, Copa America 2021

Lionel Messi continues to show the speculation hanging over his Barcelona future is not going to affect his performances with Argentina in the Copa America.

After scoring his side’s opening goal with a brilliant free kick in their opening match against Chile, the attacker, who will celebrate his 34th birthday on 24 June, was again to the forefront against Uruguay.

With 12 minutes of the match gone, Messi received a short corner before teasing a defender and hanging in a perfect cross that was met by Guido Rodriguez, who headed the ball in off the post.

Messi’s contribution, though, was so much more than a single assist.

He completed a game-high 28 passes in the opposing third and touched the ball 78 times – more than anyone else on the field.

Messi was involved in 24 duels, winning 15 – a record number for the 2021 Copa America
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Messi also made an incredible impression in terms of his duels. He was involved in 24, winning 15 – a record number for the 2021 Copa America.

‘Huge Messi!’ Argentine publication Ole pronounced after the match, who noted that “Messi was seen more in overalls with a shovel than with a top hat and cane”, praising his defensive contribution.

Meanwhile, Messi reacted on Instagram, posing beside Paris Saint-Germain stars Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes: “Come on! It was important to win today. This can give us confidence for what is coming, which will continue to be tough.”

Messi ignores the noise around his future

While Messi’s future continues to hang in the balance just 11 days before his contract with Barcelona expires, he is showing a capacity to ignore the noise and play a team-leading role for Argentina as they chase a first major title since the 1993 Copa America.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain remain interested in the forward, with this a unique opportunity to sign one of the greatest players in the history of the game on a free transfer.

Since Joan Laporta was installed as Barcelona president earlier in the year, Messi’s future has increasingly tended towards staying at Camp Nou, though because of the club’s financial problems, there is no guarantee this will be possible.