Lionel Messi overtakes Puskas after netting 5 for Argentina


Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored five goals for the first time for the country in a 5-0 thumping of European minnow Estonia in a friendly match in Spain Sunday.

He joins a select club comprising only Juan Andres Marvezy and Manuel Moreno to score five in a game for Argentina.

The five-goal feat also made Messi the fourth-highest scorer for a national team in men’s football.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or twice in the first half, including from a penalty kick, and three times after the interval to reach 86 international goals. I have moved past the 84 goals of former Hungary great Ferenc Puskas.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list with 117 goals – including two on Sunday as Portugal routed Switzerland 4-0 in the Nations League – followed by Iran’s Ali Daei with 109 and Mokhtar Dahari of Malaysia with 89.

Messi had never scored five times before for Argentina at the senior level. He has scored five goals with Barcelona in a 7-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16 of the 2011-12 Champions League.

The 34-year-old Messi had two assists last week when Argentina defeated Italy 3-0 in the first Finalissima meeting of the South American and European champions.

He last year helped Argentina win the Copa America for his first major title with the national team.

Lionel Scaloni’s side is unbeaten in 33 matches, its last loss was a 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the 2019 Copa America semifinals.

At the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year, Argentina is drawn with Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.

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