Messi Broke Pele Record in Men’s International Football

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Lionel Messi broke Pele record as South America’s top international goalscorer after scoring a hat-trick in their world cup qualifying win over Bolivia on Friday.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier to overtake Pele as South America’s top goal scorer. Messi scored all three goals for Argentina in the 3-0 win in Buenos Aires, bringing his total for Argentina to 79 in 153 appearances. Pele scored 77 goals at the international level in 92 games during his career. In the second half, Messi broke the record by scoring outside the box in the 14th minute to equal Pele. Before full-time, he completed his hat-trick by dribbling past a defender and converting from a rebound.

A crowd of 20,000 attended Argentina’s post-match celebration with their Copa America trophy at the Monumental Stadium after scoring. Defeating Brazil in the final, he won his first major international football trophy in July.

“Thanks to God this day arrived,” Messi wrote after the match alongside a picture of the team holding the trophy. The night was beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it – unforgettable. I have no words to thank you for all the love I’ve received. Thank you!

Messi’s Paris St Germain team-mate Neymar has been a regular for Brazil since turning 29. Argentina has won five and drawn three games in the South American World Cup qualifying to finish second to Brazil. Brazil’s Marta is the record holder for most goals scored by a South American female player, with 109.

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