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What records could Lionel Messi break at the 2024 Copa America?

Sports Mole takes a look at the records that Argentina legend Lionel Messi could break at the 2024 Copa America.

Eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is set to lead Copa America holders Argentina at this summer's tournament held in the United States.

Regarded by many as the greatest of all time, the 36-year-old captained La Albiceleste to continental glory in 2021, the nation's first Copa America triumph for 28 years, before becoming a world champion less than 18 months later after winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

It remains to be seen whether the 2024 Copa America will represent Messi's last dance on the international stage, but he will nevertheless be keen to make his mark in the States, where he has already excelled at club level with Inter Miami.

Indeed, Messi has scored 25 goals and registered 16 assists in 29 appearances for Inter Miami across all competitions, breaking a plethora of records in the process, and has fired the Herons to the summit of the MLS standings this season.

Messi is sure to have his eye on breaking more records this summer, and here, Sports Mole takes a look at the ways the legendary Argentine forward could etch his name in the history books at the 2024 Copa America.

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates winning the Copa America as he kisses the trophy on July 10, 2021© Reuters

Most appearances at Copa America

Messi has made a total of 34 appearances at the Copa America, the joint most alongside former Chile international Sergio Livingstone, but the former is set to break the record outright this summer, with Argentina taking on Canada in their opening group-stage fixture on June 21.

Most tournament appearances for Argentina

Messi has represented Argentina at six different Copa America tournaments (2007, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021) and is set to become the first player from his country to play at a seventh edition of South America's most prestigious continental tournament.

Argentina's Lionel Messi on June 9, 2024.© Reuters

Copa America all-time leading goalscorer

Messi has scored a total of 13 goals across his six tournament appearances at the Copa America and should he score five goals at this summer's tournament, he would become the all-time leading goalscorer, surpassing the current record held jointly by Argentina's Norberto Mendez and Brazil's Zizinho (17 goals each).

Meanwhile, Messi already holds the record for the most assists (17) by a single player in Copa America history, a staggering 11 more than his nearest challengers (Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez, Carlos Tevez and Juan Arango) in tied-second place.

Most goals in a single Copa America tournament

The current record holders for the most goals scored by a player in a single Copa America tournament are Brazil's Jair (1949), Argentina's Humberto Maschio (1957) and Uruguay's Javier Ambrois (1957) who all netted nine goals each. Messi can break this record if he scored 10 goals or more at the 2024 Copa America.

Hat-tricks in multiple Copa America tournaments

Messi has scored one hat-trick at the Copa America to date - netting three goals in 19 minutes as a second-half substitute against Panama in the 2016 group stage - and if he repeats that feat at this summer's Copa America, he will join a group of just 10 players to score a hat-trick at two different tournaments.

Argentina's Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the Copa America on July 10, 2021© Reuters

Most international goal contributions

Messi has impressive notched up a total of 162 goals contributions (106 goals, 56 assists) across his 181 international appearances for Argentina and is currently 14 goal contributions behind long-term rivals Cristiano Ronaldo (176) who has scored 130 goals and registered 46 assists in 207 caps for Portugal to date.

Argentina's No.10 will need to have a stellar 2024 Copa America in front of goal and hope that Ronaldo fails to live up to the hype at Euro 2024 if he wishes to hold the record for the most goal contributions by a single player in international football history.

Consecutive Player of the Tournament awards & first three-time winner

Messi has been named Copa America Player of the Tournament in both 2015 and 2021, one of only four players (along with Uruguay duo Enzo Francescoli and Jose Nasazzi, and Argentina's Manuel Seoane) to win the individual accolade on two occasions.

The Argentine icon could become the first player in Copa America history to win the POTT award three times this summer and the first ever to win the award in consecutive tournaments.

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Argentina's Lionel Messi pictured before kickoff on June 9, 2024.
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