Argentine superstar Lionel Messi became the top international goal-scorer in South American history on Thursday, overtaking Brazilian legend Pele.
All three goals at the Monumental Stadium – which hosted about 20,000 fans – were pieces of art by the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. The first strike came in the 14th minute, with Messi moving the ball between a Bolivian defender’s legs and shooting from outside the box to the right of goalkeeper Carlos Lampe. For the second goal in the 64th minute, Messi and striker Lautaro Martinez dazzled the Bolivian defence with a quick exchange of passes. The former had time to dribble past one defender before finding the back of the net. Messi completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute from close range.
Record-breaker Messi didn’t speak about his feat after the match, but celebrated by lifting the Copa America trophy in front of the home fans, who were allowed to attend games after a 20-month pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I waited a lot of time for this. I sought this and I dreamed about this,” said Messi.
Results: Argentina 3 (L Messi 14, 64 & 88) beat Bolivia 0; Brazil 2 (E Ribeiro 14, Neymar 40) beat Peru 0