- Lionel Messi grabbed a sensational free kick goal helping Argentina defeat Ecuador to cruise to the Copa America semis
- The 34-year-old also provided two goals on the night in their 3-0 win on Saturday, to set up a mouthwatering clash with Colombia in the last four
- Messi’s teammates applauded the captain, with Lautaro Martinez saying the world saw how Messi made the difference
The 34-year-old who recently went out of contract with Barcelona was involved in all three goals for his side making breathtaking performances.
Messi’s free kick goal capped his performance in the night which attracted praises from his teammates.
He earlier assisted the two goals, with one of them coming when he provided the no-look pass in a man of the match effort.
Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez earlier scored in the 40th and 84th minute respectively with Messi providing the goals.
After the game, teammate Nicolas Gonzalez said via GOAL:
"Messi surprises us day by day, he gets stronger and stronger and infects us all. He gives us confidence and joy. You have to continue down this path and enjoy it."
Inter forward Lautaro Martinez added:
"We all follow Messi's leadership. Today we saw again how he makes a difference and we are all accompanying him."
"I always say it: individual [moments] are secondary, we are here for something else," he said. "I want to congratulate the group for the work they are doing - we have been away from our families for many days."
Meanwhile, Barcelona are ready to offer Philippe Coutinho on a loan to Serie A giants to AC Milan as the Rossoneri are looking for Hakan Calhanoglu's replacement, Daily Mail reports.
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The Brazilian midfielder could only manage to play 14 times for the Camp Nou outfit before suffering a serious injury in December that kept him out for the rest of the season.
On the other hand, La Blaugrana are also looking to cut down on their wage bill to potentially help fund Lionel Messi's new lucrative contract, Mundo Deportivo claim.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Brazil look like retaining the Copa America title after booking their passage into the semifinal following a 1-0 win over Chile, Guardian reports.
Lyon midfielder Lucas Paquetá scored the only goal of the game in the opening minutes of the second half.
After a goalless first 45 minutes, Brazil got things into gear as Paqueta played a scrappy one-two with Neymar then out-muscled Gary Medel to score from close range.