Lionel Messi became the first South American footballer in history to score 80 international goals after breaking the deadlock for Argentina against Uruguay on Sunday night.
Messi, who is yet to hit top gear for Paris Saint-Germain after joining the French club from Barcelona in the summer, opened the scoring in the 38th minute with a pass.
Yes, you read that correctly – a pass!
Further goals from Rodrigo De Paul and Lautaro Martinez sealed a 3-0 victory for Argentina in Buenos Aires.
The 2021 Copa America champions now find themselves second in South America’s 2022 World Cup qualifying table, six points behind leaders Brazil.
“We played a great game,” Messi told reporters, per Reuters, after the match. “Everything worked out perfectly.”
“Uruguay wait for you and they generate danger. Once we got the first goal we started to find space and the goals appeared.”
This was a fixture that saw Messi go head-to-head against his close friend and former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.
But it was Messi who ended the game with the bragging rights.
His 80th and latest international goal for Argentina was one of the most unusual of his career to date.
From the right-hand side of the pitch, Messi made his way towards the penalty area before hitting the ball into the box with the outside of his left foot from roughly 35 yards.
Nicolas Gonzalez stuck out a boot but failed to connect to the ball, which found its way into the back of the net past Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Video: Messi’s goal for Argentina vs Uruguay
Watch the goal here:
@BarcaWorldwide tweeted: “How do I explain to my kids that Messi scored from here and assisted his own goal?”
@RoyNemer added: “Lionel Messi assisting his own goal. Only GOAT things.”
Messi has produced so many outrageous moments on a football pitch throughout his remarkable career that you’re left wondering whether or not this really was a fluke.
But surely – surely! – this was much more a Muslera howler than another moment of Messi magic.
The smile on his face during the celebrations probably says it all:
Video: Messi’s celebration vs Uruguay
This footage, meanwhile, shows just how much the goal meant to him:
Argentina find themselves firmly on course to secure qualification for next winter’s World Cup in Qatar and Messi, who will be 35, will be desperate to land his hands on the one trophy – the biggest trophy of them all – that’s evaded him to date.