Lionel Messi became only the third male player to score more than 100 international goals. He scored a hat-trick in the first half of Argentina’s 7-0 friendly win over Curacao in Santiago del Estero on Tuesday to break the century mark.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker picked up the ball in the center of the box, sliced to the right and shot wide of the keeper with a low shot to set the remarkable milestone of his career. He then added to his tally before half-time with another trademark, the curved punch, before adding a third on the counter-attack to bring his total to 102.
Messi surpassed 100 goals in his 174th cap after scoring his 99th international goal – and the 800th of his career – in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Panama.
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He is the first South American male player to reach the 100 goal mark and the second South American overall behind Brazilian Marta, who has 109 for the country.
“I hope there will be more (Messi goals). He deserves all the praise and it’s good that those goals came on Argentine soil, it also has a special value,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni told reporters.
The game against Curacao was their second since winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December, Argentina’s first world title in 36 years.
Messi, 35, remains third on the list of all-time top international scorers behind Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the century of goals in September 2020 and now has 120, and Iran’s Ali Daei, who scored 109 goals before winning in 2007 went into retirement.
Almost half (46) of Messi’s goals have come from international friendlies. The former Barcelona striker has scored 28 goals in World Cup qualifiers, including a hat-trick in the 3-1 win in Ecuador in October 2017 that secured Argentina a place at the 2018 World Cup.
Lionel Messi became just the third male player to score 100 international goals in Argentina’s friendly against Curacao. Getty Images
Messi has scored 13 times in the Copa America and is Argentina’s top scorer in World Cup competitions, having scored 13 goals in 26 games in five editions from 2006.
A record seven Ballon d’Or winners, Messi made his Argentina debut in August 2005 in a 2-1 win in Hungary, a game in which he was sent off after just two minutes. He scored his first international goal a year later on his sixth appearance against Croatia.
He scored a goal and an assist within 13 minutes of making his World Cup debut with Argentina aged 18 in a 6-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup.
While Messi failed to score against rivals Brazil in the 2021 Copa America final at the Maracana Stadium, it was his first major trophy with Argentina.
At the World Cup in Qatar he scored seven times. Two of them met France in the final.
The Rosario-born player will have an opportunity to improve his goal tally when Argentina host Curacao in a friendly on March 28.