Messi sends Barcelona message with Argentina masterclass

Carlo Garganese

Lionel Messi sent Barcelona a massive reminder of his abilities with a magnificent performance for Argentina in their Copa America victory over Ecuador.

Messi is currently a free agent after his contract at Camp Nou expired at the end of last month.

Barcelona are still hopeful that they will be able to come to an agreement with the veteran superstar to sign a new deal.

However, according to Mundo Deportivo, Barca must first reduce their wage bill by a massive €200 million in order to be able to afford Messi’s astronomical salary demands.

Any new deal for Messi won’t be simple and both PSG and Manchester City continue to watch on with interest.

Argentina 3-0 Ecuador

But the 34-year-old sent Barca an emphatic message on Saturday whilst playing for Argentina.

He scored one and made two as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 in the Copa America quarter-final in Goiania.

Messi assisted the opener for imminent Atletico Madrid signing Rodrigo De Paul, smartly squaring the ball across the box for the midfielder to stroke home five minutes before half time.

He then created the second goal in the 84th minute for Lautaro Martinez, slipping the ball through for the Inter striker to curl it in.

And then in the final minute, Messi got onto the scoresheet himself with a trademark free kick. He curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Messi now has four goals and four assists in the Copa America, which places him first in both categories.

Argentina will next play Colombia in the semi-final in Brasilia, while Brazil will host Peru in Rio de Janeiro.

This leaves open the mouth-watering possibility of a Brazil versus Argentina final, as Messi seeks to win the first major international trophy of his career.

To date, the Barcelona star has failed to win either the World Cup or Copa America. He was runner-up at the 2014 World Cup and lost three times in the final of the Copa.