Lionel Messi became only the third male player in history to score 100 international goals, completing a hat trick in Argentina’s 7-0 friendly triumph over Curacao on Tuesday in Santiago del Estero.
The Paris Saint-Germain attacker received the ball in the centre of the area, cut to his right, and sent a low shot past the keeper to reach the incredible career milestone. He then scored another spectacular, bending strike before halftime, before adding a third on the counter-attack to bring his total to 102.
Messi reached 100 goals for his country in his 174th game, scoring his 99th international goal – and 800th of his career – in Thursday’s 2-0 triumph against Panama.
He is the first South American male player to reach 100 goals, and the second South American overall, trailing only Brazil’s Marta, who has 109.
“I hope there are more (Messi goals), he deserves all the credit, and it’s nice that these goals were on Argentine territory, that has a unique significance as well,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni told reporters.
The game against Curacao was Argentina’s second since winning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December, the country’s first world title in 36 years.
Messi is third on the all-time men’s list of best international scorers, trailing only Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who reached 100 goals in September 2020 and now has 120, and Iran’s Ali Daei, who scored 109 before retiring in 2007.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi scores a hat trick to surpass 100 international goals.
About half of Messi’s goals (46) have come in international friendly matches. The former Barcelona attacker has 28 World Cup qualification goals, including a hat trick in a 3-1 win against Ecuador in October 2017 that clinched Argentina’s place in the 2018 World Cup.
Messi has 13 Copa America goals and is Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer in World Cup tournaments, with 13 goals in 26 matches covering five editions beginning in 2006.
Messi, a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, made his Argentina debut in an August 2005 2-1 win against Hungary, in which he was sent off after only two minutes. A year later, in his sixth game against Croatia, he scored his first international goal.
He scored and assisted within 13 minutes of his World Cup debut with Argentina at the age of 18 in a 6-0 triumph over Serbia and Montenegro in 2006.
Although Messi did not score in Argentina’s 2021 Copa America final victory against nemesis Brazil at the Maracana stadium, it was his first major championship with the country.
At the World Cup in Qatar, he scored seven goals. Two of them occurred in the final versus France.
The Rosario native will have another chance to add to his score when Argentina hosts Curacao in a friendly on March 28.