Lionel Messi is hoping to make history at Copa America 2021.
Messi reaches Copa America final
It's well-documented that the Argentina icon has hitherto failed in his quest to secure international silverware, but an upcoming final with Brazil on Saturday could rewrite the history books.
Messi has thrice tasted defeat at the Copa America's final hurdle with Argentina coming up short in the 2007, 2015 and 2016 climaxes.
However, there's a quiet feeling that the stars might be aligning for Argentina this time around with Lionel Scaloni's men flirting with a semi-final exit by defeating Colombia in a penalty shootout.
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Brazil vs Argentina
But before they can dream about holding South America's premier trophy, they'll have to get the better of hosts, favourites and reigning champions Brazil at the Maracana.
It's an incredibly tough prospect when you consider Tite's squad is stacked with world-class players such as Neymar, Casemiro, Thiago Silva, Ederson and Marquinhos to name just a few.
However, Argentina will be acutely aware that anything is possible when Messi is playing the Ballon d'Or-contending form that he's shown all throughout the tournament.
Messi's jaw-dropping stats
With four goals, four assists and four Man of the Match awards, you'd be hard-pressed to argue that anybody other than the Barcelona star has been the Copa America's best-performing player.
And it's an opinion well grounded in statistics because the revered data gurus at SofaScore have Messi listed as the best player at Copa America 2021 by miles upon miles upon miles.
Their comprehensive tournament data sees players given match ratings for each appearance, which are then averaged out across the summer with Messi topping the charts with 8.62 out of 10.
Top 20 players at Copa America
However, believe it or not, there's more to the Copa America than its star player, so be sure to check out who the top 20 performances have been the best of the best down below:
=19. Fernando Muslera (Uruguay) - 7.20
=19. Thiago Silva (Brazil) - 7.20
18. Federico Valverde (Uruguay) - 7.22
17. Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Uruguay) - 7.23
=15. Fred (Brazil) - 7.25
=15. Angel Romero (Paraguay) - 7.24
14. Luis Diaz (Colombia) - 7.25
=12. Erick Pulgar (Chile) - 7.28
=12. Lucas Paquetá (Brazil) - 7.28
11. Edson Castillo (Venezuela) - 7.30
=9. Emiliano Martinez (Argentina) - 7.34
=9. Matias Vecino (Uruguay) - 7.34
8. Ángelo Preciado (Ecuador) - 7.35
7. Casemiro (Brazil) - 7.36
6. Ederson (Brazil) - 7.47
5. Juan Cuadrado (Colombia) - 7.48
4. Neymar (Brazil) - 7.58
3. Wuilker Faríñez (Venezuela) - 7.67
2. Carlos Lampe (Bolivia) - 8.17
1. Lionel Messi (Argentina) - 8.62
Messi miles ahead of everyone
Not only does Messi have an eye-watering 0.45 lead on Bolivia's shot-stopper in chief, but not a single outfield player comes within 1.04 of the Barcelona skipper's astonishing average rating.
When you consider that Silva in 19th place is within 0.38 of Neymar in fourth position, it really rams home the degree to which Messi has been in a league of his own this summer.
And to all the skeptics who might be poo-pooing the level of competition at the Copa America, you can rest assured that Messi still comes out on top when compared to Euro 2020's best performers.
None other than his eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, leads the way in terms of SofaScore's average match ratings, but the Portuguese's grand total of 8.00 doesn't lay a glove on Messi's 8.62.
It's not a perfect system - not that one could possibly exist in football - but with so much data behind the ratings, perhaps we need to wake up to the fact that Messi is setting the standards right now.
Even if Messi tastes a fourth Copa America final defeat on Saturday, there's good reason to think that a seventh Ballon d'Or trophy will make for a stunning consolation prize.