Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Bolivia in the World Cup qualifying fixture at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. The six-time Ballon d’Or award winner has now surpassed Pele in the list of South American goalscorers, with the Brazilian legend having 77 goals at the international level.
Fans were in the stands for the first time since the Copa America victory against Brazil, and the Argentina team were able to celebrate with the trophy in front of their home fans for the first time since the game.
“I really wanted to be able to enjoy it,” Messi said after the match. “I waited a long time for this, I looked for it and I dreamed of it. It’s a unique moment for the way it happened after so much waiting.
“There was no better way to celebrate this than to be here. My mother, my brothers are in the stands… They suffered a lot and today, they are here celebrating. I’m very happy.”
Messi led the Argentina national team to their first major trophy in years when they won the Copa America by defeating rivals Brazil in the finals. The Copa America was also Messi’s first trophy in his international career, which makes his case as the most successful player in the world even stronger.
The PSG forward is also one of the favourites to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or, and with the season he has had for club and country, he might just win the Golden Ball a record seventh time.