Culé Profile picture
13 Sep, 53 tweets, 21 min read
Lionel Messi’s criminally underrated international career - a THREAD.
Messi is the top scorer in Argentina’s history (70).
Messi is the top assist provider in Argentina’s history (48).
Messi is directly involved in 118 G/A for Argentina: top 3 goals+assists in history of all international teams.
Messi’s 48 assists for Argentina are the most assists recorded in the history of international football.
Messi represented Argentina in 4 different tournaments and has won the MVP award in every single one of them. No other player in history achieved that feat. (World Cup 2014, Copa America 2015, U20 World Cup 2005 and Olympics 2008).
Messi has the most G/A in the history of World Cup+Euros/Copa: 35 goals+assists in those competitions. R9 is second of all time with 32.
Messi has played 4 international finals in his career. Out of all 3,500+ players in history that won an international title with their countries, there are only 8 players that played in 4 different finals (including a WC). Almost all of them are Brazilians.
There are only 3 Ballon D’or winners in history of football that has won both of the World Cup best player award and the best player award of their continental tournament (Euros/Copa/AFCON etc): Messi, R9, Zidane.
Messi is the player who has won the most MOTM (man of the match) awards in a single World Cup tournament ever - 5 in 2014.

He also has the overall record for World Cup MOTMs in Argentina’s history - 7.
Messi is the only player in World Cup’s history that assisted in 4 different tournaments (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018).
Messi is the youngest Argentinian player ever to score a World Cup goal (2006, at 18 years old). Only second youngest overall after Pele.
Messi is the only player to score in his teens, his twenties and his thirties in the history of the World Cup.
Messi is the player with the most dribbles completed recorded in World Cup’s history - 110. Diego Maradona (105) is second. Brazilian Jairzinho is far behind the two with 78.
Messi provided 24 key passes in WC 2014, it’s the second most recorded in a single World Cup ever, after Xavi in 2010.
Messi is the player who created the most clear-cut goalscoring chances in a single World Cup ever (13 in 2014).
Messi completed the most dribbles in a single World Cup in history (46 in 2014), after Maradona (51 in 1986).
Messi is Argentina’s top assister in the history of World Cups (6/7).

He needs 3 more goals to become their top scorer too.
Messi is the player who won the most Copa America Man Of The Match awards in history (11).
Messi is the player who won the most MOTM awards in a single Copa America tournament ever (4 in 2015, 3 in 2016).
Messi is the top assists provider in the history of Copa America (13).
Messi also has 9 Copa America goals, the most for any Argentinian in the 21st Century & the second most overall. He needs 4 more to become top scorer.

22 G/A in the competition, the most in history.
Messi is the player who scored the fastest Hattrick in the history of Copa America, when he came as a substitute and did it after 19 minutes in 2016.
Messi is the player with the most assists in a single Copa America tournament (5).
Messi is the only player in history to score against EVERY South American team he faced.
Messi is the top scorer in history of South American World Cup qualifiers - 21.

Other than him, only Luis Suarez has managed to scored more than 15 goals.
Messi is the top assists provider in the history of South American qualifiers - 14.

Zico is second.
Messi is the player who scored the most goals in a single CONMEBOL World Cup qualification - 10 (2014).
Messi is the player who scored the most goals for Argentina in a calendar year, 12 in 2012.
Messi has won the most Argentinian player of the year awards in history (2005, 2007-2013, 2015-2017).

He’s also one of the only players in history to have won it 10+ times for their country.
Messi is the player who scored the most goals in U21 international games - 18. He also scored the most goals in official U21 competitions: 11.
Messi has the most direct free kick goals scored in all international games for Argentina: 6.
Messi has the most hat tricks scored for Argentina in history: 6.
Statistical-wise, World Cup 2014 of Messi is one of the top 7 individual tournaments in the history of the competition. Only Eusébio (66’), Maradona (86’), Kempes (78’), Müller (70’), Cruyff (74’) & Pele (70’). None of them in the modern era.
And just like Messi, all of them won the WC golden ball, except Müller who won the silver ball.
Bonus:

Argentina without Messi in WC 2018 qualifiers: 7 points, 3 Losses, 4 draws and only 1 win in 8 games.
Argentina with Messi: 21 points, 6 wins, 3 draws and only one loss in 10 games.

In those 10 games, Messi scored 7 goals, assisted 3 and created 19 big goalscoring chances.

Those wins also included games against Uruguay, Chile, Colombia - in all of them Messi scored.
Even if he only played the last game of the qualifiers (in which he took Argentina to the World Cup in the last moment with a huge Hattrick) - he would’ve still finished as the team top scorer in the qualifiers, with one game played...
Also, in that period of the qualifiers, Argentina also played 3 friendlies, and the record there was no different: 1 win with Messi, two losses when Messi didn’t play (including a 6-1 L to Spain).
In 2018 Argentina had almost two years (20 entire months) in which no player other than Messi scored a goal in a competitive match.

The latest player to score before that negative streak? Di Maria, from a Messi assist...
This is Argentina’s World Cup final team.
(Palacio was the super-sub).

That is the peak of Argentina in the Messi era... that team only got 10 times worse during the qualifiers in the latter years, with coaches like Bauza and Sampaoli.

Make your own conclusions.
Note:

Messi is the playmaker of that Argentina team. He takes the ball from deep, and has played behind 2-3 center forwards his entire career.

As his coaches already said in the past, his job is not to score. He only does it (at incredible rate too) because he’s just too good.
Argentina scored 8 goals in World Cup 2014. Messi was involved in 7 of them,

including 5 G/A (the others are an own goal from his shot and a play he created).
Argentina scored 5 KO goals since 2006 (in Messi’s career).

Messi directly contributed to 3 of them (3 assists) and made another 1. The only exception is Di Maria’s long-shot...
Messi is the only Argentine player in history to assist 2 goals in a World Cup knockout match.

He did it against the incoming world champions France.
That game against Ecuador was also the first time Argentina won in Quito since 2001.

The extremely high-altitude there caused incredible struggles for all visitors teams. Brazil hasn’t won a game there for 36 years, too.

1-0 down?

11' #Messi
18' #Messi
62' #Messi

3-1 up 🎩
Messi won the award for the best young player in Copa America 2007, too.

He also won the best goal of the tournament with the one he scored in the semis & got Argentina to the final against Brazil with one of his most beautiful goals, at 19 years old.
It seems that Messi’s record in penalty shoot-outs for Argentina needs to be clarified, too:

After an incredible assist to tie the result vs the incoming winners Uruguay, Messi scored the first one in Copa America 2011 Quarter finals. Tevez missed and they went out.
Messi scored the first one vs Netherlands in the semi finals of 2014 World Cup. They passed.

Scored the first one vs Colombia in Copa America 2015 Quarter finals. 2 other teammates of his missed, but they passed due to his goal. He also won the MOTM award.
Scored the first one vs Chile in Copa America 2015 Final. He was the only Argentinian to score, and therefore they lost.

Missed vs Chile in 2016, but it didn’t impact the final result, since Chile missed in the same sequence and Argentina missed their other penalty.
He was also unquestionably the best players prior to the penalties in the finals.

Missed only 1 out of 5 shootouts. That’s a fantastic record. Had the leadership to take all penalties first.

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