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Lionel Messi breaks Pele's international goal record after brilliant hat-trick

Lionel Messi breaks Pele's international goal record after brilliant hat-trick

10/09/2021; 11:18 AM Steven D. Thompson By : Steven D. Thompson

It's been a busy summer for Lionel Messi, and he continues to deliver yet again. The Argentine maestro finally led Argentina to a Copa America win back in July after missing out on four different finals, which his side lost in recent years.

If that wasn't enough, Messi further stunned the world after completing a shocking move to PSG. That move was the talk of the summer and ranked high alongside his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who also completed an unexpected return to Manchester United.

If you thought Messi no longer had it in him, you were probably wrong. Despite being at the age of 34, La Pulga reminded everyone of his quality once again and why he will always be an 'out of this world' player up until he hangs his boots.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Argentina raced to a 3-0 win over Bolivia in their South American qualifying campaign. It was expected that the reigning Copa America champions would win, but the manner in which it happened made for good reporting.

Lionel Messi stole all the headlines, as usual, scoring all three goals for his side and setting a brilliant record for himself in the process. We'll be looking further at that below.

Messi breaks Pele's international goal record

For anyone who as much as follows football-only sparsely, the name Pele surely rings one than one bell, with the Brazilian often regarded as the greatest ever to kick a ball.

Pele ranks the highest in South American folklore, having bagged 77 goals in 92 international games, but it was only a matter of time before that record was met and surpassed.

With Messi being at 76 goals before the Bolivia game, his goal from outside the box in the 14th level saw him draw level with Pele on the all-time South American list.

Two more brilliant goals in the second half saw the PSG star make that record his own with 79 international goals to his name after 153 games.

However, Messi still has some distance to go if he is to meet his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently became the overall-time international scorer with 111 goals to his name.

Depending on perspective, though, Messi might not exactly be the all-time 'South American' top scorer, with Brazilian female duo Cristiane and Marta still boasting more goals at 96 and 109, respectively.

How did Messi react to his latest achievement?

An emotional Messi and his teammates danced and took time to celebrate in front of the 21,000 supporters at the Monumental stadium.

As per ESPN, a teary Messi commented on how proud he was to have reached that milestone, especially with his family watching from the stands.

The Argentina team also took that opportunity to show off their Copa America title to the fans, and it was indeed a joy to watch.

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