Lionel Messi passes 100 international goals as Argentina thrash Curacao in friendly

Lionel Messi passes 100 international goals as Argentina thrash Curacao in friendly
Lionel Messi became the third male player to surpass 100 international goal after scoring a hat-trick in Argentina's 7-0 friendly thrashing of Curacao at Santiago del Estero on Tuesday.

Seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi opened the scoring against the Caribbean island minnows on 20 minutes for his 100th goal and soon added another just after the half-hour mark to make it 3-0. The Paris Saint-Germain star then completed his hat-trick on 37 minutes with the fifth as Argentina toyed with their overmatched opponents. It was his seventh hat-trick for the national team. Messi came into the game not just as his country's all-time record goalscorer, but with more goals than the next two top players – Gabriel Batistuta on 56 and Sergio Aguero with 41 – combined.

This was Argentina's second match since winning the World Cup in dramatic style against France in Qatar in December – triumphing 4-2 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw – and it was always going to be about Messi reaching 100 goals.

He remains third in the all-time list, behind great rival Cristiano Ronaldo (122) of Portugal and Iran's Ali Daei (109).

"What a beautiful way to end this international break," Messi posted on Instagram. "How impressive today all the people in Santiago del Estero are. I hope we can continue to share many more moments like this together and that this madness never ends!!!"

Messi had come up short on Thursday last week when he notched his 99th goal as Argentina toiled in their homecoming celebration match against Panama.

The Central Americans had held out until the 78th minute before 21-year-old MLS sensation Thiago Almada broke their resistance.

Messi then scored direct from a free-kick a minute from time – his 800th goal in professional football – in front of 83,000 fans in Buenos Aires.

Curacao, ranked 86th by world governing body Fifa, could only hold out for 20 minutes before Messi took a pass from Giovanni Lo Ceslo, cut inside his marker onto his weaker right foot and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.

The referee was then seen on live television throwing the ball to someone on the side of the pitch as DirecTV commentators speculated that it was heading "straight to the museum."

Three minutes later Nicolas Gonzalez outjumped goalkeeper Eloy Room to head home from four yards.

Gonzalez turned provider as Messi scored the first of three goals in four minutes, this time with his left foot.

He then laid off the ball for Enzo Fernandez to make it four with a shot from distance before Lo Celso released Messi behind the defence to notch his treble.

"I hope there will be more [goals from Messi], he deserves all the praise and it's good that these goals had been on Argentine soil, that has a special value too," Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said.

Argentina took their foot off the gas in the second half, with only a generously-awarded Angel Di Maria penalty and close-range finish from Gonzalo Montiel adding to the score.

But the 42,000 fans present remained in party mood throughout, waiting for their heroes to lift the World Cup trophy in front of them.
Share This News On: