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Lionel Messi became the first world champion to score 100 international goals after he bagged a hat-trick in Argentina’s 7-0 win over Curacao.
The PSG star netted three goals in 17 first-half minutes in the friendly victory, which means he now sits on 102 goals for Argentina. He also netted in the recent friendly win over Panama.
Messi joins only Cristiano Ronaldo (122) and Ali Daei (109) in reaching 100 international goals. The Portugal legend is, of course, still banging in the goals for fun, now under new boss Roberto Martinez.
But Messi is also still doing his thing on the pitch at international level, shining for his nation once again, this time on home soil.
“What a nice way to close these dates, impressive today all the people in Santiago del Estero,” Messi posted on Instagram. “I wish we can continue to share together many moments like these and that this craziness never ends!!!”
Argentina boss wants Messi happiness
It’s been a phenomenal time of late for Argentina, who have been guided to the success by head coach Lionel Scaloni. The boss has won the hearts of the nation by bringing the World Cup trophy home, and hopes the success can continue, with Messi staying happy also a priority.
The star winger sits miles ahead atop Argentina’s all-time scoring list, with Gabriel Batistuta second on 56, just over half of Messi’s total. The icon’s 102 goals have come from 174 matches, with both tallies set to rise in the months to come.
“As for Lionel Messi, what I want is for him to be on the pitch and be happy,” said Scaloni, as quoted by LiveScore. “These days were different to the previous friendlies because the players were allowed to be with their people.
“We felt that they had that desire to go out to contact the outside, although that meant that it was difficult to prepare these two games. But in the end we got them through by playing with intensity.”
What next for Messi and Argentina?
Messi clearly still remains a key player for his nation, having only just guided them to 2022 World Cup glory with a stunning final display in Qatar.
But questions are, of course, already being asked about his Argentina future, primarily whether or not he will play in the 2026 World Cup.
Messi previously noted that the 2022 event would be his last, but many connected with the nation, including teammates and indeed Scaloni, have backed the magician to line out at one last World Cup.
The 2026 tournament is scheduled to take place across the US, Canada and Mexico, but Messi may make the decision to hang up his Argentina boots long before then. He will be turning 39 by the time the next World Cup comes around.
The forward is, however, showing no signs at all of slowing down at the moment. After initial struggles at PSG, he boasts a phenomenal 18 goals and 17 assists from his 32 matches in all competitions this season.
The iconic attacker currently sits on 29 goals and 32 assists from his 66 PSG games in total, following on from an extraordinary 672 goals and 303 assists from his 778 matches at Barcelona.
🔝 Lionel #Messi alcanzó los 1⃣0⃣0⃣ goles con la Selección @Argentina. ¡Gracias por cada grito, capitán!
📝 https://t.co/RGWV8PDdJ4 pic.twitter.com/GJJZVqLhgd
— 🇦🇷 Selección Argentina ⭐⭐⭐ (@Argentina) March 29, 2023