Most rewarding moments of Lionel Messi's Argentina career

  • Lionel Messi has experienced extreme heartbreak with Argentina
  • The legendary figure came up short in two Copa America finals before finally lifting the trophy in 2021
  • Messi tallied seven goals in the 2022 World Cup to propel his team to victory over France in the final
Messi has enjoyed a wonderful international career with Argentina
Messi has enjoyed a wonderful international career with Argentina / Julian Finney/GettyImages
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Only recently has international soccer started to be kind to the game's greatest-ever player, Lionel Messi.

Every player dreams of bringing trophies back to their home country when competing in competitions like Copa America, the Euros and of course, the World Cup. Many players would probably trade fair bit of their club trophies -- if not all of them -- in exchange to lift a World Cup title with their national team.

Messi is no exception to that. The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner has came so close on many occasions to bringing glory back to his native Argentina, but only in the last few years has his patience been awarded as he's brought home a couple of major honors to the South American nation.

Becoming Argentina's all-time top goal scorer

Lionel Messi
Messi's free kick vs the USA was out of this world / Bob Levey/GettyImages

While Messi more than likely values the team titles than individual honors, he still probably feels a great deal of pride about being Argentina's all-time top goal scorer. The Inter Miami figure did just that roughly eight years ago back in the Copa America Centenario -- which was held in the United States, like this year's Copa America -- against the USMNT with a stunning free kick from distance.

That was Messi's 55th goal for Argentina, and that figure has just about doubled with the former Barcelona and PSG player now on 106 goals for his country since that match. Messi has also notably become Argentina's all-time appearances leader with 181 games played as well as registering the most assists in team history with 56.

Lifting Copa America 2021

Argentina lifted the 2021 Copa America / CARL DE SOUZA/GettyImages

Messi finally got his hands on his first-ever international title with Argentina in the summer of 2021 in the form of Copa America.

After falling short in two straight finals -- both on penalties -- vs Chile in 2015 and 2016, Messi and Co. finally lifted the elusive titles with a narrow 1-0 victory over Brazil with Angel Di Maria first-half striker proving to be enough for the win.

Even after initially retiring following the 2016 Copa America defeat, Messi was able to re-emerge on the international scene to bring glory back to Argentina.

Capturing the 2022 World Cup

Lionel Messi
Argentina were crowned World Champions in 2022 / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Before Messi was able to lift Copa America 2021, he and Argentina experienced heartbreak in two consecutive World Cups. First up was the 2014 World Cup final, where Mario Gotze's 113th-minute strike sunk Argentina and denied Messi a World Cup title.

Four years later, Argentina were back with a better squad in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. However, they were unable to get past the Round of 16 after a chaotic encounter with France. La Albiceleste fell 4-3 marking Kylian Mbappe's official arrival on the international stage.

Another four years passed by and Argentina loaded up for Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. With Messi likely playing his last World Cup, there was pressure on him to deliver for his country -- he did that and much more.

Messi stepped up with seven goals and three assists throughout the 2022 World Cup that included a brace in the final vs France. Mbappe nearly spoiled Messi's dreams once again as he bagged a hat-trick late on, but Argentina managed to prevail on penalties as Messi, in many eyes, cemented himself as the greatest player of all time.