“Lionel Messi is one step ahead of all of us”

Argentina midfielder Rodrigo de Paul has heaped praise on Barcelona forward Lionel Messi after the 34-year-old’s latest performance against Ecuador in the quarter-finals of Copa America 2021.

Lionel Scaloni’s team cruised to a 3-0 victory over Ecuador on Sunday, thanks to goals from Rodrigo de Paul, Lautaro Martinez and a second-half stoppage-time strike from Lionel Messi.

‘(He is) one step ahead of all of us’, said De Paul after the Ecuador game. “For the first goal against Ecuador, for example, he saw me alone and luckily it helped us to win.”

The Udinese midfielder also looked forward to Argentina’s semi-final clash with Colombia on Wednesday. He sounded optimistic about Argentina’s chances of going all the way at Copa America 2021, saying:

“We’re motivated, and we know how difficult the game against Colombia is going to be, but we feel prepared and very excited to face them. This is a long road in which we must face great teams, but we are willing to fight until the last day to reach the final. We want nothing more than to bring joy to all Argentines.”

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How has Lionel Messi fared at Copa America 2021

Argentina vs Ecuador: Quarterfinal - Copa America Brazil 2021
Argentina vs Ecuador: Quarterfinal – Copa America Brazil 2021

Lionel Messi has proven himself to be Argentina’s talisman once again. He has scored four goals and provided as many assists in his team’s run to the semi-finals of Copa America 2021.

Messi will be desperate to guide his country to their first Copa America title since 1993. Argentina finished as runner-up to Chile in 2015 and 2016.

After enduring a slow start to his Copa America 2021 campaign, Argentina and Lionel Messi have been unstoppable. Lionel Scaloni’s side have scored seven goals in their last two games and have conceded just two goals in the competition thus far.

Messi’s imperious form and the defensive solidity Argentina have exhibited at Copa America 2021 make them one of the favourites to win the title.

Argentina have made it to the finals of two of the three previous editions of the tournament but finished second-best on both occasions. So Messi will be desperate to end Argentina’s long trophy drought in what is likely his final Copa America campaign.

Also Read: Euro 2020: 5 players who deserve more playing time.

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