Lionel Messi scored all three goals in Argentina’s 3-0 trumping of Bolivia on Thursday in a World Cup qualifying match to surpass the South American men’s record held by Brazil legend, Pele.
This means that the Argentine captain has now scored his 79th international career goal for Argentina, giving him two more than Pele, who had 77 career goals in his days.
Messi however, trails Brazilian duo Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) for the overall record for most goals scored by any South American player at the international level.
Third on the list after Messi is his long-time friend and teammate at club level, Neymar who have scored 69 international goals for the Seleção.
Speaking after the game, the former Barcelona forward couldn’t hide his emotions for reaching another milestone in the South-American football sphere.
“I was very nervous, I just wanted to enjoy the night. I waited a long time for this,”
“We won the game that was the most important thing and now we can celebrate.”
Messi who is also the all-time leading goalscorer for the Albiceleste of Argentina, having moved past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016, has netted 8 career goals vs. Bolivia in 11 games, it is Messi’s most goals against a single opponent while donning the Argentina shirt.
And after scoring a hat-trick against Bolivia on Thursday, the 34-year old now has 26 goals in World Cup qualifying matches and has also passed Uruguay star Luis Suarez — his former teammate at Barcelona — for most among CONMEBOL players.