How Lionel Messi outplayed everyone at Euro 2020 together with his Copa America stats

How Lionel Messi outplayed everyone at Euro 2020 together with his Copa America stats

Lionel Messi has lengthy confronted criticism for perceived failure to ship on the worldwide stage, however the 34-year-old lastly exorcised these demons by enjoying an instrumental position in Argentina claiming their first trophy in virtually three many years.

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The Barcelona star has won all there is to win at club level, but a lack of silverware with his country had long served as a metaphorical millstone around his otherwise elaborately decorated neck.

Indeed, 28 long years had passed since the Albiceleste‘s last major triumph, but the wait was over via a tense 1-0 win over Brazil in the final of the Copa America — leaving the mercurial Messi to hoist the enormous trophy aloft for the first time, and at the Maracana Stadium of all places.

Of course, Argentina were no one-man team at the Copa, but their talisman racked up the kind of numbers that can prove the vital difference.

In fact, Messi outperformed almost all of his contemporaries at Copa America… and Euro 2020 too by eclipsing the best players in Europe in a number of key areas.

Whereas the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Lorenzo Insigne, Alvaro Morata and Pedri all topped their fair share of the performance rankings at Euro 2020, there was one name dominating many of the analytics in South America.

Lionel Messi celebrates after enjoying Copa America success. CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images

Euro 2020:
Cristiano Ronaldo,
Portugal (5 goals in 4 games)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (4 goals in 7 games)

Despite dropping out in the first knockout round, Ronaldo still managed to finish top of the goal-scoring charts at Euro 2020 with five goals to his name.

Patrick Schick of the Czech Republic matched Ronaldo’s tally but ultimately missed out on the Golden Boot due to the Portuguese also claiming an assist during the tournament, thus nudging ahead in the tie-breaker.

Messi wasted little time opening his account at the Copa, scoring against Chile in Argentina’s first game. He then followed up with a brace in the 4-1 rout of Bolivia in the final group stage game before claiming his fourth goal of the tournament with a powerful free-kick in stoppage time against Ecuador in the quarterfinals.

Euro 2020:
Steven Zuber, Switzerland (4)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (5)

Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Zuber wasn’t a name many expected to see finish top of the assist table at Euro 2020, but the industrious Swiss laid on four for his teammates in as many games during his country’s run to the quarterfinals.

As well as chipping in with important goals, Messi also provided a steady stream of assist for his colleagues at the Copa, including two assists in one match against Ecuador in the last eight and one assist for Lautaro Martinez’s early opener against Colombia in the semis.

Shooting Goals Added (SGA)
Euro 2020:
Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland (1.25)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (1.35)

SGA data is used to highlight when an individual player is executing better shots than the quality of chances being provided to them. The higher the SGA number, the more said player is making of their opportunities in front of goal.

By notching for Switzerland against Spain in the quarterfinals, Shaqiri has now scored in the last four major tournaments — World Cups in 2014 and 2018, and Euros in 2016 and 2020. What’s more, the Liverpool forward also ended this latest tournament campaign with a higher SGA rating than any other player.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the Copa America’s top goal scorer also happens to be the best finisher at the competition, but Messi proved himself to be at his economical best while leading the line for Argentina. His delightful lobbed finish against Bolivia in the group stage being the perfect example.

Euro 2020:
Mikkel Damsgaard, Denmark (1)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (2)

Damsgaard scored the one direct free-kick purpose at Euro 2020, beating Jordan Pickford from 25 yards as Denmark claimed first blood towards England within the semifinals. In doing so, the 21-year-old Sampdoria winger additionally turned the youngest participant to attain direct from a set piece at both a European Championship or a World Cup for over 40 years.

Messi himself scored twice as many direct free kicks at Copa America than have been seen on the entire of Euro 2020. The Argentina star received his event up and operating with a basic deft roller towards Chile in his opening sport to attain the 57th free kick of his profession. He subsequently adopted up with free kick No. 58 by thrashing one in from the sting of the penalty space towards Ecuador within the quarterfinals.

Euro 2020:
Lorenzo Insigne, Italy, Paul Pogba, France (9)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (9)

Each Insigne and Pogba have been level-pegging when it comes to incisive strategy play come the tip of Euro 2020, having each carved defences open with well-judged progressive passes on 9 events.

This tally was matched by Messi on the Copa, who put his spatial consciousness and imaginative and prescient to good use whereas laying on achieved through-balls for his extra cellular attacking teammates.

Euro 2020:
Marco Veratti, Italy (14)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi (21)

In addition to breaking apart play together with his trademark tenacity, Veratti additionally supplied an terrible lot of creativity from the guts of the Italian midfield. Certainly, the Paris Saint-Germain star produced 14 goal-scoring possibilities for his Azzurri teammates on their solution to lifting the trophy at Wembley, whereas additionally indulging within the exhausting work he is famend for.

Messi’s powers of notion and inventiveness have been on full show because the Argentine carved out 21 possibilities for his facet over the course of simply seven appearances — an outstanding charge solely matched by Neymar of Brazil.

Euro 2020:
Pedri, Spain (177)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (133)

Pedri emerged at Euro 2020 as a shiny new hope for Spain, with the 18-year-old conjuring visions of nice technical Barcelona midfielders of yesteryear with a string of spectacular performances for Luis Enrique’s facet. This culminated in a virtuoso man of the match outing towards Italy within the semifinals, regardless of ending on the dropping facet.

An ever-present hazard in and across the 18-yard field, Messi as soon as once more saved defenders occupied and the ball shifting at velocity for Argentina with a precession of intricate passes within the attacking third.

Euro 2020:
Dani Olmo, Spain (21)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (28)

RB Leipzig winger Olmo took extra photographs at purpose than some other participant at Euro 2020, although finally failed to search out the again of the online on the event.

Maybe displaying his desperation to gas Argentina to glory, Messi mustered extra photographs than some other participant on the Copa, letting fly with 28 makes an attempt and scoring with roughly 15% of them.

Euro 2020:
Patrick Schick, Czech Republic, Alvaro Morata, Spain (9)
Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi, Argentina (11)

In an impressive show of effectivity, Schick managed to attain 5 targets from simply 9 makes an attempt on goal at Euro 2020 — a conversion charge of 55%.

Morata was rather less proficient for Spain. Nevertheless, with three targets in six video games, Morata discovered the again of the online with 33.3% of his makes an attempt on goal, which is nothing to be sniffed at.

Messi discovered the goal 11 occasions in seven appearances on the Copa, scoring 4 occasions to finish the event with a conversion charge of 36%. Nevertheless, we suspect that each one of this information means little as soon as you’ve got received the trophy held above your head!

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