Comparing Lionel Messi and Neymar’s records at major tournaments

Quick Reads

Lionel Messi and Neymar might be mates from their time together at Barcelona, but on the international stage, as the respective greatest players of their generation for Argentina and Brazil, they are rivals. 

The pair face off in the Copa America final on Saturday night at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, and with Neymar having missed Brazil’s win in 2019 and Messi having lost finals with the Albiceleste in 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2016, they are both vying for their first major trophy in national team colours.

That is not to say either of them has been ineffective at international level, far from it. Both will – or will very likely – finish their careers as their nation’s record goalscorer.

But how do their records at major tournaments – the World Cup and the Copa America – compare?

Here, we’ve looked at their numbers side by side.

Lionel Messi

World Cup 

Games: 19
Starts: 17
Sub appearances: 2

Goals: 6
Assists: 7
Penalties scored: 0

Minutes per goal: 270.8
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 270.8
Minutes per goal or assist: 125

Copa America 

Games: 33
Starts: 30
Sub appearances: 3

Goals: 13
Assists: 17
Penalties scored: 3

Minutes per goal: 216.7
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 281.7
Minutes per goal or assist: 93.9


Games: 52
Starts: 47
Sub appearances: 5

Goals: 19
Assists: 24
Penalties scored: 3

Minutes per goal: 233.8
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 277.6
Minutes per goal or assist: 103.3

READ: Set your alarms – Inspired Messi is intent on making history for Argentina


World Cup 

Games: 10
Starts: 10
Sub appearances: 0

Goals: 6
Assists: 3
Penalties scored: 1

Minutes per goal: 151.2
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 181.4
Minutes per goal or assist: 100.8

Copa America 

Games: 11
Starts: 11
Sub appearances: 0

Goals: 5
Assists: 4
Penalties scored: 1

Minutes per goal: 192.2
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 240.2
Minutes per goal or assist: 106.8


Games: 21
Starts: 21
Sub appearances: 0

Goals: 11
Assists: 7
Penalties scored: 2

Minutes per goal: 169.8
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 207.6
Minutes per goal or assist: 103.8

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