Argentina star Lionel Messi surpassed Diego Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup tally by scoring against Australia in the Round of 16 on Saturday (December 3). The Albiceleste beat the Socceroos 2-1, with Messi firing his team in front with a cool finish from inside the box.
It was his first goal in the knockouts of the competition and ninth overall, taking him past Maradona’s tally of eight for Argentina at the FIFA World Cup. The 35-year-old also stole a march over his arch-rival Ronaldo in the process, with the Portuguese ace on eight World Cup goals.
Lionel Messi made his FIFA World Cup debut in the 2006 edition and bagged his first goal against Serbia and Montenegro.
Following a blank in South Africa in 2010, he struck four times in the Brazil showpiece four years later before adding another in the 2018 edition in Russia.
In the current one, Messi now has three goals, having also scored against Saudi Arabia and Mexico in the group stage, bringing him on par with five other players in the scoring charts.
Interestingly, yesterday was Messi’s 1000th career game. The PSG ace said that he was happy to help his team take another step towards the coveted trophy. Messi said:
“I am very happy for taking another step forward, achieving another objective. It was a very strong and difficult match — we knew it was going to be this way. We didn’t have much time to rest up, and we were concerned as we knew it was going to be a physical match and they were very strong.”
Messi is having a fine campaign and in what’s possibly his fifth and last FIFA World Cup finals. He will look to guide his team to their third win in the competition and first in 36 years.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina face Netherlands in quarterfinal
Argentina will face Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Friday in what promises to be a fiesty clash. The Oranje, playing in their first finals since 2014, are among the few unbeaten teams in the competition and made light work of USA (3-1) in the last 16.
The game will bring together Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk as the unstoppable force meets an immovable object.