Lionel Messi hits over 100-goal mark for Argentina.
Lionel Messi surpasses 100 international goals with hat-trick against Curacao.
With a hat-trick against Curacao early on Wednesday morning, Lionel Messi added another chapter to international scoring history by bringing his total for Argentina to 102 goals.
Messi led Argentina in a pair of friendlies three months after lifting the World Cup trophy in Qatar, the nation’s first home games since their success.
The seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or scored his 100th goal for his country with a precise free-kick against Panama on Thursday at River Plate’s El Monumental before reaching triple digits a few days later.
Fans went to Santiago del Estero to see the team that won Argentina’s third World Cup last December, the first since the Diego Maradona-inspired squad of 1986, and the match against Curacao allegedly sold out in less than a minute.
Messi scored seven goals in Qatar, two more than El Diego did in Mexico, including a hat trick against France in a crazy final that was finally won by a shootout.
Curacao, ranked 86th in the world by FIFA (who still have Argentina second behind Brazil), offered little resistance as Messi opened the scoring after 20 minutes, tiptoeing around the top of the penalty area before slotting the ball into the bottom corner with his right foot.
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Messi has entered an exclusive group in men’s football by scoring 100 goals for his country. Before reaching this milestone, only two players—Ali Iran’s Daei (109 goals) and Messi’s favorite statistical foe Cristiano Ronaldo (122)—had done so.
Messi became Argentina’s leading scorer back in 2016, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s 54-goal record with a stunning free-kick stuffed into the top corner against the USA in that year’s Copa America semi-final.
Pele, a legendary player from Brazil, had been the top goal scorer for South American countries since 1971 with 77 goals, but 50 years later, Messi passed the three-time World Cup winner.
Fiorentina’s Nicolas Gonzalez doubled Argentina’s advantage against Curacao within the opening 25 minutes.
Argentina jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first half thanks to goals from Messi, who finished with a hat-trick, and Enzo Fernandez, the World Cup’s young player of the tournament.
The defending champs completed a 7-0 sweep with goals from Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Montiel.
Messi has scored nine hat-tricks for Argentina on his route to 102 goals. His treble against Curacao was the first of his international career, though, and it came in the first half of play.
Even after spending the better part of two decades on the largest platform, Messi continues to break records and win new awards.
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