FOXBORO, Mass. – Lionel Messi has delivered what many of the 59,183 fans in attendance wanted from his first-ever visit to Gillette Stadium: the chance to celebrate a goal scored by one of soccer’s best-ever players.
Messi scored in the 60th minute of Argentina’s 4-1 Copa America 2016 quarterfinal win over Venezuela on Saturday at Gillette Stadium. The goal was Messi’s fourth of Copa America, a tournament high at this stage. Messi also tied Gabriel Batistuta as Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer, with 54.
Messi also moved ahead of the United States’ Clint Dempsey and Brazil’s Philipe Coutinho in the Copa America 2016 top goal scorers’ race.
Earlier in the game, Messi set a new Copa America assists record when he set up Gonzalo Higuain’s first goal. Messi registered his ninth career Copa America assist when he set up Erik Lamela’s strike later in the second half.
Critics at home say Messi must win a FIFA World Cup (or even a first Copa America title) in order for Argentina fans to love him unconditionally. Ousting Gabriel Batistuta from the top spot, as Messi is bound to do in the near future, might even be enough to secure universal acclaim.
But it should be.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jun 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi (10) congratulates Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain (9) after he assisted on Higuain's goal against the Venezuela during the first half of quarter-final play in the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer tournament at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports