Lionel Messi, Chicharito both on the verge of history
Saturday is a massive day for Copa America Centenario, with two quarterfinals set to be played. But it is also a massive day for Lionel Messi and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez individually, as both could become their respective countries' all-time leading goalscorers.
Messi enters the day with 53 goals for Argentina, one off the country's all-time mark set by Gabriel Batistuta. He was on 50 goals to start the tournament, but his hat trick in 19 minutes against Panama in the team's second group stage match put him on the verge of history.
Messi still hasn't started a match at Copa America as he continues his recovery from a back injury suffered in a pre-tournament friendly, but Gerardo Martino did say that he could get the nod in Saturday's quarterfinal clash against Venezuela. (7 p.m. ET, FX). If Messi does get the start, and an hour-plus to play, it's possible (maybe even likely) that he gets the goal to tie Batistuta's record and even a second to become his country's new top goalscorer.
Chicharito is in the same boat as Messi. His 45 international goals have him one back of Jared Borgetti's all-time Mexico record of 46. The Mexican forward has the chance to become El Tri's record-holder when they take on Chile on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, FX).
Whereas Messi has been battling fitness issues, Chicharito is fit and rested. He was dangerous in Mexico's Copa America opener against Uruguay and only some brilliant last-ditch tackles and blocks kept him off the scoresheet, then he got a goal in El Tri's second match. Finally, he started Mexico's final group stage contest on the bench, so he should have fresh legs.
The focuses of both Messi and Chicharito are obviously on their respective teams winning their matches. They want to get to the semifinals, with Messi chasing his first ever trophy with Argentina and Chicharito hoping to capture the biggest title in his country's history. But they're also chasing some personal glory, and we could see history on Saturday.
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