- Lionel Messi is favored to lead Copa América in assists
- The Argentinian superstar delivered 22 assists for Barcelona last season
- Coutinho of Brazil and Colombia’s Rodriguez are also in the running
Lionel Messi begins another attempt to add a major international trophy to his glittering array of club honors when Argentina kick off their campaign in the Copa América in Salvador, Brazil on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET at Fonte Nova Arena.
In addition to being favored to finish as the tournament’s leading goal-scorer, Barcelona superstar Messi is also favored to lead the way with the most assists at +350 at Bovada.
Copa América Assist Leader Odds
|Who Will Lead Copa América in Assists?||Odds at Bovada|
|Angel Di Maria||+1100|
Odds taken 06/13/19
Messi’s Barcelona teammate, Phillipe Coutinho of Brazil, is rated second favorite at +450. But he is coming off an indifferent season for both club and country and may struggle for his best form.
Messi is rightly favored after delivering 22 assists for his club in the season just finished. Coutinho managed only five.
James Rodriguez of Colombia is favored third in the assists charts at +700. Liverpool’s Brazilian UCL winner Roberto Firminio could be good value at +900 after eight club assists last season. Luis Saurez of third favorites Uruguay is the same price and created 13 assists for Barcelona.
Two EPL players are ranked with Everton’s Brazilian Richarlison at +900 and the Chilean Alex Sanchez of Manchester United at +1000.
Roberto Carlos hopes Lionel Messi's Argentina luck changes 🇦🇷https://t.co/uoXwpWTokg
— Goal News (@GoalNews) June 13, 2019
The 32-year-old Messi has been a serial winner of honors for Barcelona, including four Champions League titles. However, his international career has been frustrating and turbulent and he has twice departed from international football, only to return.
Messi Should Have Plenty of Opportunities
Argentina are second favorites to win the competition. Should they reach the final, it will give Messi a maximum of six games in which to be the leading supplier of assists.
He holds the all-time record for the number of assists in the competition with 11. He delivered four of those last time around in the US in 2016 where Argentina were beaten 4-0 in the final by Chile.
Richarlison is an inspartion to all young players trying to break into their national teams.
He was called up as a replacement for Pedro, who picked up an injury (last September) and since then, he has never been dropped. Made use of almost all his opportunities. pic.twitter.com/66N3fGMSYc
— Brazil Football 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) June 6, 2019
However, he made only two friendly appearances for his nation in the season just finished and delivered no assists.
Coutinho’s return of assists for Brazil in 2018-19 was poor – just one in 10 appearances. But the pressure on the host nation to win the tournament for the first time since 2007 could lead to an improvement in his delivery rate.
After breaking into the Brazil side, Richarlison delivered three assists in 10 games .
Rodriguez of Colombia delivered six assists last season for his club side Bayern Munich where he is on loan from Real Madrid. There were three in six international games.
The fourth favorite, Richarlison, has made a good impact in his first season at Everton, although he managed only two assists for them last season. After breaking into the Brazil side, he delivered three assists in 10 games.
Alexis Sanchez had a miserable season at Manchester United with only four assists. He managed one in three international games for Chile during a campaign hit by injuries.
Copa offers Chile's Alexis Sanchez chance to banish Manchester United woes https://t.co/nfOIdhwmbn
— TOI Sports News (@TOISportsNews) June 13, 2019
Di Maria and Neres Good-Looking Underdogs
A good outside bet could be Argentina’s eighth-rated Angel Di Maria, who is +1100. He made 17 assists for Paris St Germain last season, although he made no international appearances.
The Brazilian David Neres delivered 12 assists for Ajax and has made one in the four games since his debut for Brazil this year. He is rated at +1200.
Pick: Lionel Messi (+350)
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