Football

Lionel Messi surpasses Diego Maradona with sublime hat-trick

Messi has now scored more than Maradona (©GettyImages)
Messi has now scored more than Maradona (©GettyImages).

Lionel Messi’s return to the Argentina starting XI saw him put on a sublime show of attacking football and ended up with him surpassing world football legend Diego Maradona.

Guatemala were the victims for the Barcelona superstar’s first start in a while and he took them apart in great style, scoring a classy hat-trick and setting up the other in a 4-0 win.

Coach Alejandro Sabella fielded a largely experimental side for the trip to Central America but there was no shortfall in quality, especially as Messi was in one of those moods.

A sublime 20-yard strike from the Camp Nou legend opened the scoring after 15 minutes, before he turned provider and swung in an inch-perfect cross for Augusto Fernandez to head home ten minutes before half time.

Just four minutes later Messi made it 3-0 from the spot after being brought down and he rounded off the rout with a nonchalant finish from an Ezequiel Lavezzi four minutes into the second half.

It was another exhibition of Messi’s brilliance and it took his tally for Argentina to 35, which puts him one ahead of Diego Maradona and level with Hernan Crespo.

Messi has a way to go to equal Gabriel Batistuta, however, as the former Fiorentina striker is the record-holder with 56.

Watch Lionel Messi give a masterclass in Argentina’s 4-0 defeat of Guatemala, scoring three and setting one up, below...

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