Argentina vs. Brazil: Leo Messi's Hat-Trick Bolsters His Superior Reputation
Today's international friendly between Brazil and Argentina turned out to be the Lionel Messi show, not that anyone should be surprised.
Messi netted three goals, including a game-winner in the last 10 minutes. This dazzling performance only solidifies what football fans already know.
The Argentinian sensation is unmatched as the world's best player. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is the only person with the right to claim otherwise, but performances like today make that distance even wider.
Brilliant production and unmatched open-field creativity have long been the standard for the Barcelona forward.
Let's take a look at Messi's game today, as well as his international career overall.
Messi controlled the field, tempo and goalscoring against arguably the world's most talented squad.
Romulo gave Brazil a 1-0 advantage in the game's 23rd minute, but Messi answered in the 31st off a through ball from Gonzalo Higuain. Messi planted the ball in the left corner of the net, and Argentina pulled even.
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Three minutes later, Messi capitalized on another breakaway, taking Angel Di Maria's pass to slot home and give his side the lead.
In the first half, Messi had an answer for everything Brazil threw his way. He is a master in the open field because of his superb vision, feathery first touch and exquisite knowledge of the game.
He changes speed in the middle of the field better than anyone, and he constantly has defenders playing on their heels.
Messi's second half was more of the same, as he ran circles around the opposition.
The game culminated in perfect fashion. Messi's game-winner in the match's 85th minute caps the story of today's international friendly in the optimum way.
Messi is only 24 years old, but his reputation precedes him.
In 70 international appearances he has scored more than 25 goals. He also notched 16 goals in 23 appearances for Argentina's youth teams.
Messi has just completed his eighth season with La Liga's Barcelona. He has 169 goals in 214 appearances. If you couldn't tell, that is downright astounding.
He has won UEFA's best player award, and he has won FIFA's Ballon d'Or. If you want credentials, Messi has a laundry list.
That's why his performance today should come as no surprise. It is tough to expect flawless play on a consistent basis, but Messi never fails to deliver.
Today's match in MetLife Stadium only backed up the obvious facts; when it comes to football, Messi is unrivaled.
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