Copa América: Messi equals Mascherano’s record as Argentina qualifies for quarterfinals

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Lionel Messi, 33, equalled Javier Mascherano’s record of 147 match appearances for Argentina on Tuesday in Albiceleste’s third match at the 2021 Copa América against Paraguay played at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha.

The Argentine captain achieved the milestone two days before his 34th birthday and the Barcelona main man has taken to Instagram to celebrate it.

“Another important victory to continue growing,” Messi wrote on Instagram as the caption to a photograph of himself and ex-teammate Mascherano.

“Proud to have been able to wear the light blue and white as many times as my friend Masche (@ mascherano14) whom I love very much and always respected and admired.”

Mascherano likewise congratulated Messi via social media. “Congratulations Leo for having reached the record appearances for Argentina,” the ex-Argentina captain said.

“Nobody better than you to continue growing the legend and be the player with the most appearances in our National Team. Congratulations to the whole team for the victory and many more!”

Mascherano made his debut for Argentina in 2003, representing the nation at five Copa América tournaments, finishing runner-up in 2004, 2007, 2015, and 2016, and four FIFA World Cups, reaching the 2014 final.

On June 30, 2018, following Argentina’s elimination from the World Cup after a 4-3 loss to France in the Round of 16, Mascherano announced his retirement from international football.

Should Messi be handed a start next week against Bolivia by coach Luis Scaloni, he would go on to be the most capped player for Argentina, ahead of the likes of Javier Zanetti and Diego Maradona.

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