With Lionel Messi winning the Copa America, is the GOAT debate finally settled?

The streets of Argentina erupted with celebrations following its first Copa America title since 1993
The streets of Argentina erupted with celebrations following its first Copa America title since 1993

It is often said that rivalries are part of what makes sports great. Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi has been the greatest rivalry the football world has seen since the turn of the century. The two players give it their all to emerge victorious on the field, while fans battle it out off-field to assert the superiority of their respective idols.

In terms of facts and statistics, Messi has a conclusive edge over Ronaldo in most categories except for scoring with headers, or with his weak foot.

Despite being the most influential player in every match he plays, breaking records season after season, and wowing audiences with his goals, assists, dribbling, and playmaking abilities, when it comes to the GOAT debate, experts and fans of the sport are usually divided down the middle.

Lionel Messi's lack of a major international trophy with Argentina caused many to tip the balance in favor of the Portuguese superstar.

For years he carried the weight of his countrymen's expectations and disappointments like an albatross around his neck. He lost three Copa America finals and the 2014 FIFA World Cup final, thereby missing perfect opportunities to cement his position as the undisputed GOAT.

But on the 10th of July, at the famed Maracana, a young Argentine team led by the talisman managed to beat Brazil in Copa America 2021 final; thus ending the country's 28-year trophy drought.

Messi finally got his hands on the silverware that had evaded him for so long, he now had something to reward his beloved homeland with.

For every fan of his, it was vindication.

With the one argument that gave his rival an upper hand discredited, many have expressed that this win would not only help Messi secure his record 7th Ballon d'Or, but it also seals his legacy as the greatest of all time.

Here are a few tweets that have been doing the rounds:

Now that Lionel Messi has leveled up his trophy cabinet, where does it leave Ronaldo?

Anybody who has been following Ronaldo's career would know what a grave sin it would be to write him off. The 36-year-old has proved, time and again, that he deserves as many accolades as his Argentine counterpart.

With Messi looking happier than he's ever been, courtesy of a huge burden being lifted off his shoulders, and Ronaldo fueled by a desire to ascertain his dominance in the sport once again, it'd be interesting to see how the upcoming season is going to pan out for both of them; even though both these stars are nearing the end of their remarkable careers.

Edited by S Chowdhury
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