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Lionel Messi leaves opponent looking foolish while doing what Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't

It took four Copa America games but Lionel Messi finally scored for Argentina, within a week of Cristiano Ronaldo failing to score at a major tournament for the first time

Lionel Messi scored his first goal of Copa America after his effort bounced off the face of Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.
Lionel Messi scored his first goal of Copa America after his effort bounced off the face of Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

Lionel Messi managed to outshine Cristiano Ronaldo once again after breaking his scoring drought in a 2-0 win over Canada in Copa America.

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner hadn't scored in three Copa America games, but Messi scored a crucial goal to help Argentina progress to the final where they will meet either Uruguay or Colombia on July 14. Messi also left Canada goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau looking somewhat foolish in the process of scoring, as he deflected the ball off his opponent's face while diverting Enzo Fernandez' effort into the back of the net.

Manchester City's Julian Alvarez scored the opening goal after 22 minutes, ending a period of pressure from Canada who entered the game as major underdogs. The North American side continued to push but Messi's goal gave Argentina breathing space at a pivotal time in the game.

Messi's strike also moved him onto 109 international goals, moving him ahead of former Iran star Ali Daei (108) and into second on the all-time leaderboards behind Cristiano Ronaldo (130). Messi is now one win away from securing his third international trophy, and unlike Ronaldo he has guaranteed at least one goal for his nation this summer.

It's been a dominant run by Argentina who are looking to defend their Copa America crown from 2021, and they've conceded just one goal all tournament. The World Cup winners finished the group stages with a 100 percent record, but needed a penalty shootout to advance to the semi-finals after a 1-1 draw against Ecuador as they entered the knockout rounds.

Messi has been wasteful for Argentina this summer, although he did assist Lautaro Martinez in the opening game of the tournament. However, he silenced all critics with a smart finish following an initial effort by midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

After Messi lifted the World Cup with Argentina in 2022, many fans felt that he had finally proven he was clear of Ronaldo in the 'Greatest of All Time' debate. Following Ronaldo's poor performance at Euro 2024 this summer it's been suggested that the Al-Nassr striker, and Portugal, are better off parting ways.

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Cristiano Ronaldo blanked for Portugal as they exited Euro 2024.
Cristiano Ronaldo blanked for Portugal as they exited Euro 2024.

Ronaldo is two years and four months Messi's senior, but was extremely ineffective for Portugal as they crashed out of Euro 2024 to France in the quarter-final. Ronaldo had an xG of 2.75 in Euro 2024 which was the second highest in the tournament ahead of the semi-finals, but he had no goals to show for it.

The 39-year-old burst into tears during Portugal's Round of 16 clash against Slovenia after seeing his penalty saved by Jan Oblak in extra time, with fans speculating it was an admission of realisation that his career was nearing the end. Portugal still advanced on penalties and Ronaldo scored on his second attempt, but failed to score from open play in the competition.

Portugal boss Roberto Martinez continued to back Ronaldo up front and continued to start him despite the lack of end product, and has been met with criticism for leaving offensive threats such as Diogo Jota on the bench. Ronaldo will now wait to see if Messi can further his legacy on the international stage.

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