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Leo Messi made his debut for the full Argentina national side ten years ago in game against Hungary in the Ferenc Puskas Stadium in a friendly fixture. It was not the dream debut that the blaugrana might have imagined given that he was dismissed from the field of play shortly after coming on. Nevertheless, that day a story that is now ten years in began. Since his debut in Budapest the Argentine has won a gold medal in the Olympics in Beijing, played a World Cup final and two Copa América finals, as well becoming the youngest ever player to reach 100 caps with the ‘albiceleste’.
Messi has achieved plenty on a personal level with the Argentine national side over the last ten years. On 22 June 2010 he became the youngest player to ever captain Argentina in a World Cup match. Then, five years later in the group stage of the Copa América in Chile, he became the youngest player to reach 100 caps for Argentina. Furthermore, he is second highest scorer for the national side with 36 goals, just 10 behind legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta.
Glory in Beijing
In the summer of 2008 Messi enjoyed his greatest success with the Argentina side. The striker took part in the Olympic Games in China and was key in claiming the gold medal, defeating Ronaldinho’s Brazil team 3-0 in the semi-finals on the way.
Leo Messi has been on the verge of tournament success on three separated occasions for the ‘albiceleste’. In the summer of 2007 his team reached the final of the Copa América, only to lose the final 3-0 against Brazil. Seven years later Argentina reached the World Cup Final in Brazil. The side coached by Alex Sabella lost 1-0 in that final against Germany in extra time but Leo Messi was voted player of the tournament. Finally, this summer, the Argentines again reached the final of the Copa América only to lose on penalties to hosts Chile.
In total his ten years of experience with Argentina complement perfectly his record with the blaugranes and as an individual: 4 Champions Leagues, 3 European Super Cups, 2 FIFA World Club Cups, 7 leagues, 6 Spanish Super Cups, 2 Copas del Rey, 4 Ballon d’Or, 1 FIFA World Player of the Year and 2 UEFA Player of the Year
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