Lionel Messi hailed rivals Ecuador on Saturday (July 4), after a Copa America match that saw the tournament favourites Argentina advance in the competition.
Messi scored a free kick and served up two assists as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-0 on Saturday (July 4) to set themselves up for a Copa America semi-final against Colombia.
Messi missed a golden chance in the first half but set up Rodrigo De Paul five minutes before half-time and then did the same for Lautaro Martinez five minutes from the end to give Argentina a deserved victory.
The Barcelona player then got his second free kick off the tournament in stoppage time to round out a scoreline that was more convincing than the performance.
It was his 76th goal for Argentina, taking him to within one of Pele’s South American record.
Coach Scaloni hailed the team captain and told media he hopes the 34-year-old will keep on playing professional football as long as possible.
The result means Argentina will face Colombia, who overcame Uruguay on penalties earlier in the day, in the second Copa America semi-final on Tuesday (July 6).
(Production: Leonardo Benassatto, Paul Vieira)