After completing their second treble early this month, many Barca players then headed home not to rest but to play for their respective national sides in the Copa America. Among those players are Lionel Messi of Argentina and Dani Alves of Brazil.
Messi still underperforms
Lionel Messi had his 100th cap for Argentina in their match against Jamaica at the Copa America. This was their final group match and they were able to win it 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Gonzalo Higuain. The Albi Celeste finished on top of their group with seven points and will now advance to the knock out phase of the tournament.
Getting the 100th cap for a national team at just 27 years old is certainly a big achievement even for Messi. However, his performance for the national side here is still below the expectations of many particularly his critics. He only managed to score one goal so far here and that was even a penalty during their match against Paraguay. That match ended in a 2-2 draw to the delight of the Paraguayans.
After playing 100 matches in many tournaments for the Albi Celeste, the four time Ballon d-Or winner who also just had his second treble with Barcelona recently is still looking to win his first title with the national team. Messi is well aware that his chances of winning a title for Argentina are getting fewer. This is why he said in a recent press conference that, he “would give it all up to win the Copa América.” At this time, this is just all what he needs now to complete his stellar football career.
Dani Alves replaces Danilo
Dani Alves wasn’t included in Brazil’s original line-up for the tournament, but he was called-up as a replacement for Danilo after the later was injured during their match against Mexico. The 32 year old Barcelona defender had been part of many of Brazil’s campaign during Scolari’s term as coach, but ever since Dunga took over the team after the World Cup he hasn’t appeared in any of Brazil’s matches including friendlies.
Brazi’s Copa America campaign just suffered a blow after Neymar was banned for the rest of the tournament. Hopefully, Alves’s inclusion will boost their defense now that their attack has weakened due to Neymar’s absence.