Copa América Centenario

WATCH: Laba praises Messi after world-class free kick in Copa America semi

Lionel Messi celerbation - Argentina

“The best.”

That’s how Matias Laba described his countrymate Lionel Messi after his majestic one-goal, two-assist performance in Argentina’s 4-0 win over the United States on Tuesday in the 2016 Copa America Centenario semifinal.

Laba, a native of Villa Raffo, Argentina, only caught the last few minutes of the match. He was busy watching Vancouver’s Amway Canadian Championship fixture vs. Toronto FC from the press box – the ‘Caps decided to rest him with a busy schedule upcoming.

But the 24-year-old midfielder made sure to watch all the highlights, including Messi’s brilliant free kick that made him Argentina’s new all-time goalscoring leader.

SPECIAL: Lionel Messi scores this stunning free kick to all but book Argentina's spot in the #CopaAmerica Final

— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) June 22, 2016

He wasn’t surprised.

“Messi was unbelievable,” Laba told “Top class. He’s the best in the world.”

Argentina will now face either Chile or Colombia in the Copa America final on Sunday. Messi has never won a Copa America with Argentina – they were runners-up in 2015 and 2007.

That, along with the fact that he’s never won a World Cup, is why Laba said Messi is often criticized, unfairly, by the media in Argentina.

“He’s our best player but sometimes the media doesn’t help him,” Laba said. “People say that Messi doesn’t win anything with the national team. But now he’s the leading goalscorer, so I think we have to be more patient because I think in his time he can do it and win the Cup for Argentina.”

WATCH: Laba praises Messi after world-class free kick in Copa America semi -

Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit