Messi Breaks Pele's Record for most goals by a South American Player
It was a huge game for Argentina as they were looking to qualify for the World Cup at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires and their star player, Lionel Messi, did not disappoint to say the least. Messi scored all the three goals for Argentina in a 3-0 win on Thursday against Bolivia. Messi made history yet again, scoring his 79th international career goal for his home country Argentina, surpassing the South American men's record held by Brazil legend Pele, who is regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time by many people.
Messi scored all three goals in Argentina’s win over Bolivia, with one magical crossover on Bolivian defender Luis Hanquin, razzling and dazzling Hanquin, making him spin in the process to convert an effortless left footed goal to give him goal number 77 and Argentina on the board.
Messi now trails only Brazilian duo Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) for the overall record for most goals scored by any South American player at the international level. After the match an emotional Messi stated "I was very nervous, I just wanted to enjoy the night. I waited a long time for this, We won the game [and] that was the most important thing and now we can celebrate." It has been a very memorable summer for Magician that is Messi, from changing clubs from Barcelona to PSG in August, to winning his first senior international football title in July. He and La Albiceleste claimed the Copa America from Brazil in a 1-0 win at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium.
Messi is also his country’s men's all time leading scorer, moving past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016. He is also Argentina's most capped player, with Thursday's match against Bolivia marking his 153rd international appearance. Prior to Copa America’s victory, Messi had lost four major finals throughout his career with Argentina's senior side. They were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and lost in the final at the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016. Messi also won the under-20 World Cup in 2005 and an Olympic gold medal with Argentina's U23s in 2008.
Messi is one of the greatest athletes of his generation and of all time and he continues to amaze us fans, raising the standard for all future soccer players.