Messi enjoying 'last battles' as Argentina reach Copa America final

By Sports Desk July 10, 2024

Lionel Messi wants to continue enjoying his football with Argentina while he can after helping his nation reach another Copa America final.

The Inter Miami forward netted early in the second half of Tuesday's 2-0 win over Canada as Argentina reached a sixth final in eight editions.

Julian Alvarez had earlier given the reigning champions a first-half lead at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey against a valiant Canadian side.

Messi's international future remains unclear, while team-mate Angel di Maria will definitely call time on his Argentina career after this tournament.

Speaking to TyC Sports after setting up a final with either Uruguay or Colombia, Messi said: "Let's enjoy what we are experiencing as a group.

"I'm living it as I have been living everything lately - enjoying it and being aware, as it happens to Fideo (Di Maria) and Ota (Nicolas Otamendi), that these are the last battles.

"It is not easy to be in a final again, to compete again to be champions."

Argentina weathered an early storm against Canada before Alvarez's ninth international goal gave them the lead with 22 minutes played.

Messi then extended his side's lead six minutes into the second period when turning home Enzo Fernandez's goal-bound effort from close range.

La Albiceleste now have a third major title in three years in their sights, having won the Copa America in 2021 and the World Cup in 2022.

Whether Messi will still be part of the squad for the 2024 World Cup remains uncertain, but head coach Lionel Scaloni wants him part of the group in some capacity.

"We have to let him be and we will never be the ones to close the door," Scaloni said when asked about Messi's international future.

"He can be with our team for as long as he wants to be. And if he wants to retire but still come and hang around with us, it would be great."

Colombia and Uruguay meet in Wednesday's second semi-final at Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina.

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