Lionel Messi surpasses Pelé to become South America's top international goal scorer in men's football

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CNN 10 September, 2021 - 05:00am 18 views

How many international goals does Messi have?

Here, we take a look at Messi's 79 international goals and the teams he has scored the most goals against. Sporting NewsAnalysing Lionel Messi's 79 international goals - Which team has the Argentine star scored the most against?

Updated 6:00 AM ET, Fri September 10, 2021

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Barcelona congratulate Lionel Messi after he breaks Pele’s record

Barca Blaugranes 10 September, 2021 - 05:34am

The 34-year-old netted a superb hat-trick to overtake Pele and become South America’s top male international scorer with 79 goals.

It’s Messi’s 55th hat-trick and his seventh for Argentina. Barcelona legend has also now scored an incredible 751 times in his career.

Messi being Messi he did it in some style too. His first goal came on 14 minutes and saw the former Barcelona captain curl home a brilliant effort from just outside the box.

MESSI WHAT A GOAL, INSANE pic.twitter.com/otegK2zcf3

The second came after a one-two with Lautaro Martínez, and he then brought up the hat-trick late on by slamming home a rebound from close range.

“I dreamed a lot about this day and thank God it came,” he said after the match. “I have no words to thank you for all the affection received. What a beautiful night, I really enjoyed it. Unforgettable.”

Messi and the team also got to celebrate their Copa America win with supporters at the Monumental stadium, leaving the captain pretty emotional after the win.

Messi breaks Pele's South American goals record

ESPN 09 September, 2021 - 08:03pm

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Lionel Messi has scored his 79th international career goal for Argentina, surpassing the South American men's record held by Brazil legend Pele.

Messi scored all three goals in Argentina's 3-0 win over Bolivia on Thursday in a World Cup qualifying match at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, giving him two more than Pele, who had 77 career goals in international play.

Messi trails Brazilian duo Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) for the overall record for most goals scored by any South American player at the international level.

Third on the men's list is Messi's Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar, who has 69 international goals for Brazil.

"I was very nervous, I just wanted to enjoy the night. I waited a long time for this," an emotional Messi said after the match. "We won the game [and] that was the most important thing and now we can celebrate."

Three-time World Cup winner Pele remains in hospital due to surgery for a tumor on his colon on Monday, although the 80-year-old said the operation was a "great victory."

Messi, 34, has had a memorable summer -- changing clubs from Barcelona to PSG in August and winning his first senior international football title in July. He and La Albiceleste claimed the Copa America from Brazil in a 1-0 win at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium.

After Thursday's result, Messi danced with his teammates and showed off the Copa trophy to the 21,000 supporters present.

"It was a unique moment [to win the Copa America] because of where and how we obtained the title," Messi said.

"There was no better way to do it and be able to celebrate the title now, it's incredible. My mother, my brothers are here in the stands. They have suffered a lot ... I'm very happy."

Thursday's game also came days after Argentina's World Cup qualifying match against Brazil -- their first rematch since the Copa final -- was controversially suspended. Brazilian health authorities entered the pitch at Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena with the game in progress and accused four Argentina players of failing to follow Brazil's COVID-19 protocols for entering the country.

With eight career goals vs. Bolivia in 11 games, it is Messi's most against a single opponent while donning the Argentina shirt.

Messi is also his country's men's all-time leading scorer, having moved past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016. He is also Argentina's most capped player, with Thursday's match against Bolivia marking his 153rd international appearance.

Prior to the Copa America victory, Messi had lost four major finals with Argentina's senior side. They were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and had lost in the final at the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016.

He had won the under-20 World Cup in 2005 and an Olympic gold medal with Argentina's U23s in 2008.

Messi joined PSG over the summer on a shock free-agent move after two decades with Barcelona. Messi had been with Barcelona since 2001, joining the academy the year before.

Messi played 778 games at Barcelona, breaking Xavi Hernandez's appearance record in the 2020-21 season. In addition, he scored 672 goals, another club record, and helped Barca win, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions.

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