Messi surpasses India's Chhetri in international goals tally: Where does Argentina skipper stand in all-time list?
Lionel Messi surpassed India's Sunil Chhetri in the list of most international goals during Argentina's 4-1 win over Bolivia in the Copa America on Monday
Messi netted a brace and with that, the Argentina skipper took his international goals tally to 75, one more than Chhetri.
The 34-year-old Messi jumped to a joint-ninth spot in the list of most international goals. The current record is held by two players: Iran legend Ali Daei and Portugal captainCristiano Ronaldo with 109 goals each.
Messi is also two goals away from equaling Brazilian legend Pele for the record of most international goals scored by a South American player. While Messi has netted 75 goals in as many as 148 games for Argentina, Pele had an incredible record of goals per game as he had scored 77 goals in just 92 matches.
The FC Barcelona captain Messi claimed several records when he featured in Argentina's Copa America 2021 game against Bolivia at the Arena Pantanal Stadium in Brazil. When Messi took the field for the match on Monday, he became the most capped player for Argentina. It was Messi's 148th appearance for La Albiceleste, one more than former captain Javier Mascherano. The same game also saw Sergio Aguero complete 100 caps for Argentina as the former Manchester City forward became the seventh Argentinian to achieve the feat.
On Monday, Messi netted a brace and assisted a goal in Argentina's 4-1 win over Bolivia. With three goals and an assist so far in the Copa America 2021, Messi is at the top of the goals table in the ongoing tournament in Brazil.
Just four minutes into the game, a pass from Messi saw Alejandro Gomez open the scoring before Messi doubled Argentina's lead by converting a penalty successfully. At the 42nd minute, the skipper netted his second to put Argentina 3-0 up at the half-time break.
It was Messi's first brace for Argentina in 18 matches. His last double had been in the 5-1 win against Nicaragua in August 2019, according to Opta Joao.
The two goals took Messi's overall tally in Copa America to 12, making him the fourth top Argentine scorer in the history of the competition. He is one behind Gabriel Batistuta and José Moreno and five behind leader Norberto Méndez. Messi, who made his Copa America debut in 2007, has played in as many as six editions – 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2021.
Meanwhile, the win against Bolivia kept Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni's win streak intact. He is on a run of 17 games without defeat (10 wins, 7 draws), equaling Guillermo Stábile for the third-longest unbeaten streak as Argentina boss. If Argentina win their upcoming quarter-final fixture against Ecuador, Scaloni will equal Marcelo Bielsa's record (18). The all-time record of most consecutive wins as Argentina's head coach belongs to Alfio - 31 games between 1991 and 1993.
Scaloni praised his boys after the win, saying he liked the attitude of the team. "The idea was to generate a lot of goal situations, although the playing field conditions were not optimal. The players got the message: you had to win and I liked the attitude of the team. The balance is positive: we have played with strong opponents and we face the games in the best way. We believe that many of the players who had only a few minutes deserved this opportunity.
Everyone has shown that they can be in the team, but they only play eleven. There are many players who are having a good level," Scaloni told Argentina football's official website after the win over Bolivia on Monday.
Argentina take on Ecuador in Copa America's last-eight round on Sunday (July 4). The match is at 5.30 AM IST.