Lionel Messi overtaken by India's Sunil Chhetri as second-highest active international goalscorer


Lionel Messi’s struggles on the international stage have been well documented.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has never won a major honour with Argentina and has lost four finals with his nation.

His most recent attempt to end the drought came at the 2019 Copa America in Brazil, where a 2-0 win in the final group game secured Argentina’s place in the knockout round.

But the semi-finals were as good as it got for La Albiceleste - they were beaten 2-0 by eventual winners Brazil in the final four.

Messi managed just one goal in the entire tournament, much to the joy of his critics.

It means he has scored 68 international goals for his country, which is among the highest of all active international players.

In fact, Messi was the second-highest active international goalscorer before last Sunday.


Messi overtaken by India's Sunil Chhetri

Then India’s Sunil Chhetri scored two goals at the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup 2019 to overtake Messi.

Chhetri’s brace has taken his tally of goals for India to 70, meaning he is now second only to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, who added another international honour by winning the UEFA Nations League in June, has scored 88 goals for Portugal.

The first of Chhetri’s goals against Tajikistan came with a cheeky ‘panenka’ penalty.

He scored again just before half-time, but India squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2.

Chhetri, 34, is also India’s most-capped player, with 109 caps to his name.


Messi’s Copa America ended in disappointment, with the Barcelona star receiving a red card against Chile in the third-place play-off.

Many are wondering whether he might retire from international football once again, after briefly hanging up his boots following Argentina’s defeat in the 2016 Copa America final.

Time is running out for Messi to win something with his country, although next year’s Copa America may just convince him to stick around for at least one more year.

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