Lionel Messi ended the show with a hat-trick and the home crowd was pleased.
The Argentine soccer player broke the South American goalscoring record in men’s international football on Thursday. He scored all three goals in a World Cup qualifier match against Bolivia at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires.
The record was previously held by Brazilian legend, Pele, who scored 77 international goals in 91 games during his career. Messi evened out with Pele after scoring the first goal 14 minutes into the game on Thursday. By the end of the game, he broke Pele’s record with two more goals. His last goal was a hat-trick from a rebound two minutes before the game ended. The 34-year-old Argentine star currently holds 79 goals across 153 games.
Messi celebrated in his home country by lifting the Copa America trophy in front of about 20,000 fans, who were allowed to attend after a 20-month pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s no better way to celebrate it than being here,” Messi said. “My mom and my brothers were in the stands…they suffered a lot and, today, they’re here celebrating. I’m so happy.”
This victory places Argentina in second place with 18 points from eight games for the World Cup qualifying group for Qatar 2022. Brazil leads the group with 24 points.
Pele, a three-time World Cup winner, is currently recovering in a hospital after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor on his colon.
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