Lionel Messi thanked his Argentina team-mates after breaking the nation’s all-time goalscoring record in their Copa America Centenario semi-final triumph against the United States.
Messi eclipsed Gabriel Batistuta’s record with his 55th international goal after netting a sublime free-kick in Tuesday’s 4-0 rout of host nation USA in Houston.
The Argentina captain was in fine form throughout, setting up Ezequiel Lavezzi for the opener before laying it off to Gonzalo Higuain for the side’s fourth late in the game.
Messi’s free-kick came in the 32nd minute of the contest at NRG Stadium to make it 2-0, hitting the set-piece of the underside of the crossbar, leaving Brad Guzan with no chance.
On the record, Messi said: “I am happy. I am grateful to all my team-mates, and everyone who I have had the chance to play with for Argentina.
“This record is thanks to them as well.”
The win ensured Argentina qualified for back-to-back Copa America finals, and Messi believes they deserve success after losing last year’s decider to Chile, 12 months after they went down in the World Cup decider against Germany.
“The objective when we arrived was to play another final, and we have made it,” the 28-year-old said.
“From the first day we have done things spectacularly well, and we deserve to be here.
“I hope this one does not escape. We deserve success for all the work we have been doing these past few years.”
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