Last night belonged to Lionel Messi.
The Argentine superstar put on a show as he led his nation to a 3-0 victory over Bolivia in Buenos Aires.
After the chaos in Sao Paulo when Argentina’s clash against Brazil lasted just seven minutes, this is exactly what La Albiceleste needed.
And Messi was just unplayable.
His first was ridiculous.
Messi picked the ball up with his back to goal, 30 yards out. Bolivia wouldn’t have been too worried.
However, he turned, nutmegged a defender and, surrounded by seven opponents curled a sublime finish into the top corner from 20 yards.
Video: Messi’s first goal vs Bolivia
It was a joke of a goal.
His second was historic, too.
After mesmerising link-up play with Lautaro Martinez, Messi finished past Carlos Lampe to become the top international men’s goalscorer in South American football history, surpassing Pele’s record.
Video: Messi’s second goal vs Bolivia
Messi does trail female Brazilian duo Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) for the overall record for most goals scored by any South American player at the international level.
But he wasn’t done there.
In the final few minutes, Messi latched onto a parry from surpassing to strike home and claim the match ball.
Video: Messi’s hat-trick goal vs Bolivia
What a night.
Messi has now scored 79 goals in 153 international caps and now trails Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 111 by 32.
You wouldn’t rule out Messi catching the Portuguese legend with a few more nights like this in the coming years.
After the match, the Argentina side celebrated their Copa America triumph in front of their fans with an emotional Messi saying: “I was very nervous, I just wanted to enjoy the night. I waited a long time for this. We won the game that was the most important thing and now we can celebrate.”
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