Paris Saint Germain attacker Lionel Messi scored all 5 of Argentina’s objectives because the Copa America champions thrashed Estonia 5-0 in Pamplona, northern Spain.
Following on from his heroics in La Finalissima final week, when Argentina beat Euro 2020 winners Italy 3-0 at Wembley thanks to 2 excellent Messi assists, the previous FC Barcelona legend was in superb type as he netted twice within the first half after which adopted his brace up with a hat trick after the break.
Whereas additionally guaranteeing that Argentina prolonged their unbeaten run to 33 matches, with many fancying them as darkish horses on the Qatar 2022 World Cup in November, Messi additionally improved his worldwide haul to 86 objectives in 162 video games and surpassed the 84 objectives scored by Hungary and Actual Madrid nice Ferenc Puskas.
Messi is now fourth on the subject of all-time high worldwide scorers and sits simply three objectives behind retired ex-Malaysia ahead Mokhtar Dahari.
But it can take fairly a couple of extra strikes to catch as much as second place Iranian Ali Daei (109) and generational rival Cristiano Ronaldo who elevated his tally to 117 with two objectives in a 4-0 rout of Switzerland for Portugal.
Individually, nonetheless, Messi has turn into the primary participant in historical past to succeed in 1100 objectives and assists that are made up of 769 objectives and 331 assists throughout 974 appearances for membership and nation.
Sunday night was the second time Messi had scored 5 objectives in his profession after having raised the ‘manita’, as it’s known as within the Spanish-speaking world when all 5 fingers are proven in celebration, for Barca as soon as in a 7-1 Champions League demolition of Bayer Leverkusen a decade in the past in March 2012.
Messi opened his account with a penalty early within the eighth minute in opposition to Estonia and doubled La Albiceleste’s lead earlier than the interval.
When Lionel Scaloni’s males got here again out, Messi scored two minutes into the second half after which added two extra strikes on 71 and 76 minutes.
Talking after the pleasant, Scaloni was misplaced for phrases and in contrast Messi, 35 in simply over a fortnight, to Rafael Nadal who gained his 14th French Open crown on the identical day after turning 36 on Friday.
“What extra are you going to say?” Scaloni struggled.
“There are no phrases left to explain him, what he creates. He’s distinctive, and it is a pleasure to have him on this group, to teach him, how he behaves and the way he dedicates himself to this shirt.”
The coach stated that his workforce “can solely thank him” and that Messi isn’t just Argentina’s heritage but in addition the world’s.
“We are going to miss him when he is not enjoying,” Scaloni predicted. “I hope he retains enjoying and everybody enjoys and protects him, as a result of it is a pleasure to observe him.”
Gaining confidence and traction at simply the fitting time, Argentina will play in Group C on the World Cup later this yr the place their scheduled opponents are Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia for whom Messi has simply turn into a tourism ambassador.
Earlier than the FIFA showpiece, Messi is prone to proceed his membership profession at Paris Saint Germain the place he nonetheless has one season left to run on a two-year deal signed final summer season when leaving Barca as a free agent.