Lionel Messi became the first South American player to score 80 goals in men’s international football when he kicked off a 3-0 Argentina World Cup qualifier against Uruguay.
Messi, who has not yet gained a foothold at Paris Saint-Germain since a summer seismic transfer, was awarded a plaque by the AFA for his milestone. Obviously, they expected it to come sooner rather than later, and had it ready.
The 34-year-old gave Argentina the lead against their neighbors when a ball aimed at Nicolas Gonzalez in the penalty area dodged everyone and snuggled into the bottom corner of the goal.
Rodrigo de Paul doubled Argentina’s lead in the closing stages of the first half, while Messi later played an important role in preparing Lautaro Martinez to make it 3-0.
Messi became the most successful South American in men’s football when he scored his 78th international goal in a hat-trick against Bolivia last month, breaking the previous record of 77 held by Brazilian legend and football icon Pele.
No other South American player has scored more than 70 goals to date, with Neymar currently 69 and Luis Suarez 64 while Ronaldo retired with 62 goals for Brazil.
After making his senior team debut in 2005, Messi was sent off in a friendly against Hungary just minutes after being sent off. The following year Messi scored his first Argentinian goal in a 3-2 loss to Switzerland.
He scored his first World Cup goal in 2006 when Argentina beat Serbia and Montenegro, while he also scored his first international hat-trick against Switzerland in 2012.
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