Copa América

Messi makes history at Copa América with record-breaking 148th Argentina cap

After being named in the starting line-up for Monday's meeting with Bolivia, Argentina's Lionel Messi broke Javier Mascherano's appearances record.

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Messi makes history at Copa América with record-breaking 148th Argentina cap
RODOLFO BUHRER REUTERS

Lionel Messi made history with Argentina, becoming the country's all-time record appearances holder. Messi was named in the starting line-up for Argentina's final Copa América group game against Bolivia on Monday, and surpassed former team-mate Javier Mascherano with his 148th international cap.

The Argentina captain is still chasing an elusive major honour at international level, a fact somewhat at odds with his gloriously decorated career at Barcelona.

Nevertheless, after representing the Albiceleste for the 148th time, the 34-year-old can look back on a brilliant international career, in which he also is currently Argentina's all-time record scorer with 73 goals.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at Messi's Argentina career in numbers.

Messi's goals

In the eternal argument between fans of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal superstar's international record is sometimes held up as a point of difference. Ronaldo pulled level with Ali Daei's all-time record of 109 goals for his country during the reigning European champions' 2-2 draw with France at Euro 2020 last week.

Most of Messi's caps have come in South American World Cup qualifiers, where he has featured 50 times. This is set against 30 Copa outings, 19 appearances at the World Cup and 47 caps in international friendlies.

High fives and hat tricks

Argentina's bitter rivals Brazil, Paraguay and their 2015 and 2016 Copa América final opponents Chile have faced Messi more than any other nation. He has played them all 11 times, scoring five goals against each. Against Bolivia, he will be aiming to improve upon a record of three goals from nine outings, with La Paz's sapping altitude pleasingly not a factor for Messi on this occasion.

Three of those strikes against Brazil came in one sparkling 4-3 friendly win at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium in 2012. Overall, he has six international hat-tricks and none more telling than the sensational salvo to secure a 3-1 win away to Ecuador that virtually single-handedly dragged Argentina to Russia 2018.

Nightmare debut and other milestones

Messi's extended run at the summit of world football was not so easy to predict when he marked his Argentina debut from the bench against Hungary in Budapest in 2005 with a red card almost immediately after coming on.

His first goal came against Croatia in Basel in his sixth appearance, while the otherwise forgettable 2010 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Germany in Cape Town was Messi's 50th cap. Cap 100 came against guest participants Jamaica in the 2015 Copa América, a campaign that ended in now familiar disappointment.