Time to talk about Lionel Messi’s Copa America debut back in 2007, the time when he reached his first major final for Argentina and lost it vs Brazil.
Now that it’s Leo Messi’s 32nd birthday, it’s a great day to remember the Argentine’s debut Copa America tournament with his national team.
This was the time when Leo only had a single year playing with FC Barcelona as a team regular, he made his full debut with the Catalan club during the 2005-06 season.
Messi even traveled with Argentina to play the World Cup in Germany, he scored his first goal against Serbia & Montenegro.
Leo kept evolving into one of the best players in the world, that Copa America in Venezuela was the first major tournament in which he offered some mesmerizing performances.
Perhaps the most memorable one of them all was the one he gave against the Mexico National Team, the goal he scored against Oswaldo Sanchez is still one of the best of his whole career.
During that time, Messi was part of a much more competitive squad than the one he has today.
The Barcelona player wasn’t even wearing the number ’10’ jersey yet, that was Juan Roman Riquelme’s number at the time.
The Boca Juniors legend was in his prime during that era, but we bet all Argentines wish Roman still played at his best right now.
This national team is nothing compared to the ones that reached three Copa America finals, all of those squads had Lionel Messi in them.
Cumple años también uno de los mejores de la historia (a gusto de cada uno queda). Lionel Messi, hicieron dupla con Román en Copa América 2007 (subcampeones) y en Juegos Olímpicos 2008 (Medalla de oro). #FelizCumpleRoman #FelizCumpleMessi pic.twitter.com/FcQNaMPfvx
— Riquelme10 (@10_jrriquelme) June 24, 2019
However, there is no denying that the Argentina team from that Copa America had a roster that still resonates to this day.
It wasn’t just Messi and Riquelme shining for their country, they had a list of names that would scare off any other squad in the world.
That team led by manager Alfio Basile, had players such as Pablo Aimar, Javier Mascherano, Javier Zanetti, Juan Sebastian Veron, Esteban Cambiasso, and Carlos Tevez among others.
The major problem here was that this Argentina squad clashed against the overly defensive Brazilian squad, the same one that manager Dunga coached with a fighting spirit that resembled his days as a player.
Argentina lost that final with a surprising 3-0 defeat, nobody expected the ‘Albiceleste’ to get this heartbreaking result.
This is by far one of the most embarrassing nights in Argentine football history, and Lionel Messi’s talent couldn’t do anything to prevent it.
The Barcelona star was still very young during that period of time, he played the whole match against the Brazilians but he wasn’t able to help out his teammates.
Cut to nearly 12 years later, Leo is still trying to win his first major trophy with his country and he is really struggling to accomplish that on this tournament.
Esto hacía Lionel Messi en la Copa America 2007 , en las semifinales frente a México. Que viva el fútbol enano. pic.twitter.com/u3xxFaRl1T
— 𝗠ister Futbol (@Mister__) June 15, 2019
Roles are reversed for next Friday’s match.
The similarities between that tournament and this one are staggering, Messi could get eliminated from the competition on Friday.
The difference is that the venue is Brazil instead of Venezuela, and the rival in the ‘Vinotinto’ instead of the ‘Canarinha’ this time.
This Venezuelan squad is one of the few teams that managed to defeat the Argentina squad managed by Lionel Scaloni, it happened a few months ago in Madrid.
Messi needs to make a last-minute appearance this time if he wants to continue playing the Copa America, the target is the semifinal against what could possibly be Brazil.
For now, Messi needs to celebrate his 32nd birthday but he needs to keep his mind clear ahead of next Friday.
Argentina visits the mythical Maracana stadium with an aging Leo, who won’t give up until he gets to win a major trophy with his country.
All of his compatriots are rooting for him, but they know that winning this time around will be even more difficult than on previous occasions.
The positive side of this is that Leo is still playing his best football, which is something to look forward to.
Looking at the glass half empty, Messi has only scored a single goal in this competition.
Looking at the glass half full, we could still get Lionel’s explosion against Venezuela and find his best form in the quarterfinals.
#Datos @Lionel10ok #Messi jugará su 5a #CopaAmerica
En las anteriores:
2016 🇺🇸5 goles (subcampeón)
2015 🇨🇱1 gol (subcampeón)
2011 🇦🇷0 goles (fuera en cuartos)
2007 🇻🇪2 goles (subcampeón) pic.twitter.com/Kx8E4Euw3J
— Carlos López Vides (@celvides) June 15, 2019
What do you think about Lionel Messi’s Copa America performances overall? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.