Lionel Messi Breaks Record for Most Copa America Appearances

Lionel Messi has broken another record in his illustrious career…

The 36-year-old Argentine professional footballer is the new record-holder for appearances at the Copa América, making his 35th after getting the start for Argentina in their tournament opening 2-0 win over Canada on Thursday.

Lionel MessiThe Inter Miami CF striker passed Chile‘s Sergio Livingstone (34 caps) with his spot in Lionel Scaloni‘s starting XI in Atlanta. Brazil‘s Zizinho (33 caps) and Víctor Agustín Ugarte (30) of Bolívia round out the top four.

The forward debuted in the CONMEBOL tournament in 2007, starting a match against Venezuela under former Argentina manager Alfio Basile. Messi went on to feature in La Albicelete‘s six matches in 2007, including a 3-0 final loss to Brazil.

Since then, Messi has played in the 2011, ’15, ’16, ’19, ’21 and ’24 editions of Copa América to reach his total of 35 appearances. Argentina won the title three years ago to bring their total number of Copa wins to 15, but it was the first time they had done so during the Messi era.

The legendary forward could also soon break the record for most goals scored in Copa América.

He currently stands at 13 in 35 games, and would tie Argentine Norberto Méndez and Zizinho at 17 if he scored four during the U.S.-hosted competition.

A win at the Copa América would make Argentina the first team in South American history to secure three consecutive major tournament titles, having won the 2021 edition and the 2022 World CupSpain are the only team to have achieved that feat after winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012, either side of their 2010 World Cup win.

Edina Alves Among First-Ever Copa América Female Referees & Assistants  

Edina Alves is among the female referees set to make Copa América history.

The 44-year-old Brazilian soccer referee, who became the first woman to officiate at a senior FIFA men’s tournament in 2021, is among the female match officials appointed to work the Copa América for the first time.

Edina AlvesAlves and María Victoria Penso will be referees in the tournament.

Both will be supported by assistants Neuza Back of Brazil, Mary Blanco of Colombia, Migdalia Rodríguez of Venezuela and Brooke Mayo and Kathryn Nesbitt of the U.S.

Nicaragua’s Tatiana Guzmán was designated as a video review official.

“It is a high commitment taken by CONMEBOL since 2016, betting on the development and professionalization of more women on and off the field of play, promoting soccer with equality in different tournaments,” the South American soccer body said in a statement.

A total of 101 referees will work at the Copa América hosted by the United States from June 20.

As part of a CONMEBOL-UEFA agreement, Italian referee Maurizio Mariani and his compatriots Daniele Brindoni and Alberto Tegoni (assistants) and Marco Di Bello and Alejandro Di Paolo (VAR) will also work the South American championship.

Edinson Cavani Signs 18-Month Contract with Argentina’s Boca Juniors

Edinson Cavani has a new team…

The 36-year-old Uruguayan professional soccer player has joined Boca Juniors following the termination of his contract with LaLiga side Valencia, the Argentine club has revealed.

Edinson Cavani Cavani has signed an 18-month contract, with Boca requesting additional time from the Argentine FA to register the forward for the Copa Libertadores round of 16, said local media.

“Happy to have you home,” the Buenos Aires-based club wrote on X social media, formerly known as Twitter, along with a video welcoming the well-traveled player.

Cavani, who began his career with Uruguay’s Danubio, moved to Europe in 2007 when he joined Palermo. After four seasons he switched to Napoli, where he scored 104 goals in 138 games and won the Coppa Italia.

In 2013, he signed for Paris Saint-Germain, where he played for seven years, becoming the club’s all-time top scorer — a record he held until last season when French forward Kylian Mbappé surpassed him by scoring 212 goals in all competitions.

He won six Ligue 1 titles, five French Cups and six League Cups in Paris plus a runners-up medal in the Champions League.

Cavani joined Manchester United in 2020 before moving to Valencia on a free transfer two years later. The Spanish club agreed earlier on Saturday to mutually terminate the striker’s contract, which was due to expire next year.

Cavani has made 136 appearances and netted 58 goals for Uruguay to become their second-top scorer behind Luis Suarez. He helped his country win the 2011 Copa America title.

Lionel Messi Becomes Only Third Male Soccer Player to Surpass 100 International Goals

Lionel Messi is in elite company…

The 35-year-old Argentine soccer star has became just the third male player to surpass 100 international goals, scoring a hat trick to blow past the century mark in the first half of Argentina‘s friendly with Curacao on Tuesday in Santiago del Estero.

Lionel MessiThe Paris Saint-Germain forward picked up the ball in the middle of the area, cut to his right hit a low shot past the keeper to hit the remarkable career milestone. He then added to his tally before halftime with another trademark, bending strike, before adding a third on the counter-attack to take his total to 102.

Messi passed the 100-goal mark in his 174th appearance for his country, after netting his 99th international goal — and 800th of his career — in Thursday’s 2-0 win against Panama.

He’s the first South American male player to hit the 100-goal mark and second South American overall behind Brazil’s Marta, who has 109 for country.

The game against Curacao was the second since they lifted the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December, Argentina’s first world title in 36 years.

Messi remains third on the all-time men’s list of leading international scorers behind Portugal‘s Cristiano Ronaldo, who achieved the century of goals in September of 2020, and now has 120, and Iran‘s Ali Daei, who scored 109 before retiring in 2007.

Almost half (46) of Messi’s goals have come in international friendlies. The former Barcelona forward has scored 28 goals in World Cup qualifiers, including a hat trick in a 3-1 win at Ecuador in October 2017 that secured Argentina passage to the 2018 World Cup.

Messi has scored 13 times in the Copa America and he is the highest goalscorer for Argentina at World Cup competitions, having netted 13 goals in 26 matches spanning five editions, starting in 2006.

A record seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi made his Argentina debut in August 2005 in a 2-1 win at Hungary, a game in which he was sent off after just two minutes. He scored his first international goal a year later in his sixth appearance against Croatia.

He registered a goal and an assist within 13 minutes of his World Cup debut with Argentina at 18-years-old in a 6-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup.

While Messi did not score in the 2021 Copa America final triumph over rivals Brazil at the Maracana stadium, his first major trophy with Argentina.

He netted seven times in the World Cup in Qatar. Two of which came against France in the final.

The Rosario-born player will have an opportunity to add to his goal tally when Argentina host Curacao in a friendly on March 28.

Lionel Messi Notches 800th Career Goal in Argentina Win over Panama

Lionel Messi continues his scoring ways…

The 35-year-old Argentine soccer star scored his 800th career goal for club and country in Argentina‘s 2-0 friendly win over Panama in Buenos Aires on Thursday night.

Lionel MessiAfter twice hitting the post from free kicks, Messi curled his third try past Panama keeper Jose Carlos Guerra in the 89th minute to hit the 800 goal mark and send the sold-out crowd at Monumental Stadium into delirium.

“I want to thank you all for the love and recognition that you have been receiving, not only after the World Cup but also for the Copa America,” Messi told the crowd after the match. “We said that we were going to give it all for this trophy.”

Messi came into the game needing just one goal to reach the milestone after scoring his 799th goal in Paris Saint-Germain‘s Ligue 1 win over Nantes on Saturday.

Messi hit the 800 mark shortly after being named Best FIFA Men’s Player having led Argentina to the 2022 World Cup title in Qatar. He also celebrated scoring his 700th career club goal last month.

The win over Panama came in Argentina’s first match since beating France in Qatar last December. The team was roared on by the home supporters as Thiago Almada opened the scoring in the second half and Messi added his historic goal right before full-time.

The full squad from Qatar attended the match and took pictures in front of the World Cup trophy before kickoff, while Messi, manager Lionel Scaloni and others brought their families to the stadium.

A tearful Scaloni said after the match: “Eternal gratitude to these players. Football belongs to them, and without them we wouldn’t have won the World Cup.

“Everyone who wears this shirt gives their all and sometimes the results don’t come. But this time we got it and it’s incredible.”

According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), Messi is just the second man ever to reach the 800 career-goal landmark, after Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese star, 38, scored his 800th goal in December 2021.

However, there is some dispute between other sources due to historical inconsistencies in the classification of “official” goals scored in “official” competitions. Brazilian great Pele claims to have scored more than 1,000 goals during his career.

Messi, 35, spent the first 17 years of his senior career with boyhood club Barcelona, where he went on to score an incredible club-record 672 goals in 778 appearances.

His 474 LaLiga goals remains a record for Spain’s top division.

Since leaving Barcelona due to the club’s financial problems and joining PSG in the summer of 2021, Messi has scored 30 goals for the French champions.

The Rosario star has scored a further 98 goals internationally for Argentina, including seven goals in Qatar as he lifted the World Cup for the first time.

He has been named FIFA‘s best men’s player a record seven times.

Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez Wins Golden Glove at FIFA World Cup

Emiliano Martinez is having a golden moment…

The 30-year-old Argentine goalkeeper has been awarded the Golden Glove trophy following this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Emiliano Martinez, Martinez earned the prize, which is given to the most outstanding goalkeeper of the tournament, after Argentina won the shootout 4-2, to win the World Cup title at Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

Martinez became the first player to represent Argentina to win the Golden Glove. He was joined at the trophy ceremony by teammate Lionel Messi, who won the Golden Ball, as well as Enzo Fernandez, the winner of the Best Young Player award.

Emiliano Martinez,Martinez played a key role in Argentina’s dramatic final to win the country’s first world championship in 36 years.

The Aston Villa goalie, who had three clean sheets in the tournament, carried his team through extra time and a penalty shootout following a 2-2 tie in regulation. He brilliantly denied France’s Kingsley Coman with a diving left save in the performance.

After Argentina’s historic win, an emotional Martinez said, “We suffered a lot. We thought we were in control but they managed to come back. It was a very complicated game. Our destiny was to suffer. They had one last chance to win, luckily I was able to stop it with my foot.

“This is a moment I’ve always dreamed of living, I have no words for it. I left very young for England and I would like to dedicate this victory to my family.”

Martinez has been the goalkeeper for Aston Villa since 2020.

Last year, he helped his country to its first Copa America trophy since 1991.

Lionel Messi Wins Record-Extending Seventh Ballon d’Or

It’s Lucky No. 7 for Lionel Messi

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer and Paris Saint-Germain forward has been awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or for a record-extending seventh time in a ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Lionel Messi

Messi, who led Argentina to Copa America success in Brazil in July for their first major trophy since 1993, spent the majority of 2020 at Barcelona before his 21-year stay at the club ended when he left as a free agent in August and joined PSG soon after.

He now has two more Ballon d’Or awards than Manchester United‘s Cristiano Ronaldo, whose tally of five is two more than anyone else.

Messi added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019 trophies with the announcement on Monday.

“It’s incredible to be here again. Two years ago I thought it was the last time. Winning the Copa America was key,” Messi said. “It is a special year for me with this Copa America title. It meant a lot to win at the Maracana stadium and I was so happy to celebrate with the people from Argentina.

“I don’t know if it’s the best year of my life, I’ve had a long career, but it was a special one with the title with Argentina after the tough times and the criticism.”

Messi beat 29 other nominees for the award, including Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who was the favorite for last year’s prize before it was cancelled because of the lack of football during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Lewandowski was nominated for the award again this year after he broke late Bayern legend Gerd Muller‘s single-season Bundesliga goal record in May after he netted 41 league times last season, as well as winning the European Golden Shoe.

Although Lewandowski didn’t win the night’s biggest prize, he was named Striker of the Year at the ceremony and finished second to Messi on the final ballot.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho was also tipped for the award after winning last season’s Champions League with his club side before playing a crucial part in Italy’s triumph at Euro 2020.

 

Liverpool‘s Mohamed SalahReal Madrid‘s Karim Benzema and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were also nominated for the award.

AC Milan‘s Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was also a finalist for the Ballon d’Or best player, was named Goalkeeper of the Year.

Chelsea, whose men won the UEFA Champions League in 2021 and saw their women’s side win the Women’s Super League, were named Team of the Year, with managers Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes accepting the award remotely because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Ballon d’Or is awarded annually by France Football, with FIFA‘s The Best a separate honor handed out every year — Messi won that award for the first time in 2020.

Barca midfielder Pedri won the Kopa Trophy as Europe’s best young player, which comes just a week after he claimed the Golden Boy award.

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Lionel Messi Among Finalists for FIFA’s Annual Awards List for Best Men’s Player of 2020-21 Season

Lionel Messi is back in familiar territory… 

The 34-year-old Argentine soccer star, who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentina national team, appears on FIFA‘s annual awards list for best men’s player of the 2020-21 season.

Lionel Messi

Messi appears on a finalist alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and last year’s winner, Robert Lewandowski.

A men’s list dominated by forwards was completed by Mohamed SalahKylian MbappeErling HaalandKevin De BruyneKarim Benzema and Neymar in the nominations by a FIFA-appointed panel. Two Chelsea players — Jorginho and N’Golo Kante — rounded out the 11 candidates.

There are no defenders or goalkeepers in contention for the main FIFA award, though goalkeepers have their own separate award.

Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was named player of the tournament at Euro 2020, is among the five goalkeeping candidates.

Robert Mancini, who led Italy to the European title, is among seven candidates for the men’s coaching award that include Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Lionel Scaloni, whose Argentina team won the Copa America.

The winner of the women’s award last year, England defender Lucy Bronze, is nominated again and the 13 candidates include her national and Manchester City teammate Ellen White.

Olympic gold medal-winning Canada has just one candidate, veteran forward Christine Sinclair, 19 years after she was first voted into the top 10.

No player was nominated from the United States women’s team, which took bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Two men and three women are in contention to be the best coach in women’s football. They include Bev Priestman of Canada, Lluis Cortes of European champion Barcelona, and Emma Hayes of runner-up Chelsea.

Votes in all categories from national team captains and coaches, fans and media worldwide will be collected through Dec. 10. A virtual ceremony will be held on Jan. 17 remotely, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, from FIFA headquarters in Zurich. Ahead of the awards, three-candidate shortlists will be announced for each award, FIFA said.

Lionel Messi to Play in Argentina’s World Cup Qualifier Match Against Brazil

Lionel Messi is returning to international play…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer and Argentina captain is fit again, and he’s set to start during Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Brazil on Tuesday.

Lionel MessiMeanwhile, Neymar will miss out for the visitors after feeling pain in his thigh, according to to team.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni made similar comments ahead of their last game, a 1-0 win over Uruguay on Friday, although Messi only appeared for the final 14 minutes of the match.

Argentina are second in South America’s 10-team qualifying group, six points behind Brazil, who are the only team from the region to have secured their place at Qatar 2022 so far.

Scaloni repeated that Messi, 34, had recovered fully from the knee and hamstring issues that kept him out of Paris Saint-Germain‘s last two games and was ready for one of the biggest matches in the South American calendar.

“He was physically fit the other day and in the end we decided that the best thing was for him to play a few minutes so that he could get a feel for it and he is confirmed to play tomorrow,” Scaloni said of Tuesday’s match in San Juan.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game. They are the team that leads the qualifiers and they are already through to the finals.”

Brazil will be without Neymar after their top scorer reported feeling pains in the adductor region of his left thigh.

Neymar Jr. said he felt insecure about the situation and as there is not enough time to carry out complementary exams the technical commission decided to rest the player who will not travel with the team to San Juan, location of Tuesday’s game against Argentina,” the Brazil team said in a statement.

The top four teams in South American qualifying progress automatically to next year’s FIFA World Cup finals and the fifth-placed side goes into an inter-regional playoff.

Argentina are unbeaten in 26 games, a run that includes a 1-0 win over Brazil in the Copa America final in Rio de Janeiro in July.

Lionel Messi Breaks Pele’s South American Men’s Record for International Career Goals

Lionel Messi continues making history…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer has scored his 79th international career goal for Argentina, surpassing the South American men’s record held by Brazil legend Pele.

Lionel Messi

Messi scored all three goals in Argentina’s 3-0 win over Bolivia on Thursday in a World Cup qualifying match at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, giving him two more than Pele, who had 77 career goals in international play.

Messi trails Brazilian duo Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) for the overall record for most goals scored by any South American player at the international level.

Third on the men’s list is Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar, who has 69 international goals for Brazil.

“I was very nervous, I just wanted to enjoy the night. I waited a long time for this,” an emotional Messi said after the match. “We won the game [and] that was the most important thing and now we can celebrate.”

Three-time World Cup winner Pele remains in hospital due to surgery for a tumor on his colon on Monday, although the 80-year-old said the operation was a “great victory.”

Messi has had a memorable summer — changing clubs from Barcelona to PSG in August and winning his first senior international football title in July. He and La Albiceleste claimed the Copa America from Brazil in a 1-0 win at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.

After Thursday’s result, Messi danced with his teammates and showed off the Copa trophy to the 21,000 supporters present.

“It was a unique moment [to win the Copa America] because of where and how we obtained the title,” Messi said.

“There was no better way to do it and be able to celebrate the title now, it’s incredible. My mother, my brothers are here in the stands. They have suffered a lot … I’m very happy.”

Thursday’s game also came days after Argentina’s World Cup qualifying match against Brazil — their first rematch since the Copa final — was controversially suspended. Brazilian health authorities entered the pitch at Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena with the game in progress and accused four Argentina players of failing to follow Brazil’s COVID-19 protocols for entering the country.

With 26 goals in World Cup qualifying matches following his hat-trick against Bolivia, Messi also passes Uruguay star Luis Suarez — his former teammate at Barcelona — for most among CONMEBOL players.

With eight career goals vs. Bolivia in 11 games, it is Messi’s most against a single opponent while donning the Argentina shirt.

Messi is also his country’s men’s all-time leading scorer, having moved past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016. He is also Argentina’s most capped player, with Thursday’s match against Bolivia marking his 153rd international appearance.

Prior to the Copa America victory, Messi had lost four major finals with Argentina’s senior side. They were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and had lost in the final at the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016.

He had won the under-20 World Cup in 2005 and an Olympic gold medal with Argentina’s U23s in 2008.

Messi joined PSG over the summer on a shock free-agent move after two decades with Barcelona. Messi had been with Barcelona since 2001, joining the academy the year before.

Messi played 778 games at Barcelona, breaking Xavi Hernandez‘s appearance record in the 2020-21 season. In addition, he scored 672 goals, another club record, and helped Barca win, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions.