Result more important than record, insists modest Messi
Lionel Messi says he is happier with Argentina's qualification for the Copa America Centenario semifinals than the fact he equaled Gabriel Batistuta's goal-scoring record.
Messi scored in Argentina's 4-1 victory against Venezuela at Gillette Stadium to move onto 54 goals for his country, matching a record that has stood since Batistuta scored his final international goal in 2002.
But he is keener to focus on the team ethic ahead of a semifinal against the United States, and the opportunity to reach a third major final in three consecutive years.
"It's important for what it means to be the top scorer, because it's Bati, but what makes me happier is the team, the result, because we made it to the semis," he told reporters.
"I liked the personality of the team and that we always go out to be the protagonists."
Now Argentina is within sight of another tournament final, some are suggesting that their two defeats - at the World Cup in 2014 and the Copa America last year - could provide a psychological barrier.
But while Messi says that tasting defeat in those two matches does hurt, he is keen to point out that going that far in the first place is an achievement in itself.
"We don't give them the importance that we should because we didn't win, but it's not easy to reach two consecutive finals," he added. "What this team did has a lot of merit, although we all want to win. Now I hope we can reach a third final."
The Barcelona forward also looked ahead to the semi against the USA, and although he is wary of the threat posed by Jurgen Klinsmann's men he is confident his team can stay on the right path.
"The United States try to get close to you, to attack, they're a very difficult team," he continued. "We have to do what we have been doing up until now. We are growing and that's the way we have to carry on."