Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi plays on with bloodied ankle as Argentina reach Copa America final

Ross Jackson
Lionel Messi suffered a nasty ankle injury in the Copa America semi-final
Lionel Messi suffered a nasty ankle injury in the Copa America semi-final / Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images
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Critics of Lionel Messi have often accused the Argentina talisman of not showing the same passion and desire in representing his country as he does at club level with Barcelona.

Yeahhh those 76 international goals in 150 appearances absolutely stink of a player who can't be bothered, right?

That being said, considering his immense talent, he hasn't picked up a single piece of major international silverware in 16 years - is there a chance his critics have got a point?

Well, no.

The Barcelona man is currently representing Argentina in the Copa America over in Brazil, and his side were handed a glorious opportunity to reach the final of the competition on Wednesday when they faced Colombia in the last four.

Having taken a 1-0 lead courtesy of Lautaro Martinez's early strike (which obviously Messi was instrumental in as he laid the ball on a plate for the Inter man), Argentina looked to have been dealt a huge blow as Colombian defender Frank Fabra landed a crunching tackle on Messi's ankle.

The challenge sent Argentina's captain to the floor where he cradled his ankle in clear discomfort before gingerly getting back onto his feet.

Lionel Messi's bloodied ankle
Lionel Messi's bloodied ankle / Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

The side effects of the challenge were there for all to see with Messi's sock drenched in blood, but the player who apparently 'isn't bothered about Argentina' showed no indication that he wanted to be withdrawn and he battled on to see out the remaining 35 minutes of the game as well as playing through extra-time.

Messi even stepped up to take his side's first penalty in the shootout as he smashed the ball past David Ospina into the top corner, and following some heroics - and some weird behaviour - from Emi Martinez, Argentina dragged themselves through to Sunday's final.

The showpiece event will be Messi's fourth appearance in the Copa America final and the delight on his face having secured victory was evident.

Think Messi cares less about Argentina than Barcelona? Not a chance.

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