Messi nets hat-trick, overtakes Pele as leading South-American goalscorer


Lionel Messi has become the leading international goalscorer in South America after he bagged three goals against Bolivia.

Messi led the Argentines to a 3-0 victory over their visitors in the 2022 World Cup qualifier.

Scoring all the goals in the win in Buenos Aires brought Messi’s total for Argentina to 79 in 153 games.

Brazil legend Pele finished his career on 77 international goals in 92 games.

He led the side to that title, his first major trophy in international football, in July, beating Brazil in the final.

“I dreamed about this day a lot and thanks to God it arrived,” Messi wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of the team with the trophy after the match.

“I don’t have words to thank you for all the love I’ve received. What a beautiful night, I enjoyed it so much – unforgettable.”

Messi’s 29-year-old Paris St Germain team-mate Neymar has scored 69 goals in 113 appearances for Brazil.

Argentina are second to Brazil in the South American World Cup qualifying table after winning five and drawing three games.

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