Lionel Messi scores his 80th international goal: Key numbers
An unusual goal from Lionel Messi helped Argentina beat Uruguay 3-0 in World Cup Qualifiers on Sunday. The Argentine legend netted his 80th international goal for his country, the most by a South American player. Messi was presented with a CONMEBOL award for scripting history, after the match. Notably, Argentina occupy the second spot on the World Cup Qualifying - South America table.
Messi has become the first South American player in football history to score 80 international goals. The 34-year-old has the fifth-most goals in international football. He is behind Cristiano Ronaldo (112), Ali Daei (109), Mokhtar Dahari (89), and Ferenc Puskas (84).
Messi broke Pele's record for most goals by a South American male (77) with a hat-trick against Bolivia in September 2021. This was his seventh international hat-trick and first since May 2018 (vs Haiti). Messi registered his second hat-trick at the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (first in 2017 against Ecuador). The Argentine ace scored his first international hat-trick in 2012.
Messi made his international debut in August 2005. Argentina beat Hungary 2-1 in that match. Messi scored his first international goal a year later, against Croatia, in what was his sixth appearance for his country. In June 2006, he became the youngest-ever scorer for Argentina at the FIFA World Cup after scoring against Serbia and Montenegro (18 years and 357 days).
Messi has scored 27 goals at the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers so far, the most in CONMEBOL. He has scored 13 goals at Copa America and six at the FIFA World Cup. Besides, Messi has netted 34 goals in friendlies. The Argentine legend has scored the most times against Bolivia (8). He has scored a brace on 11 occasions.
As per Opta, Messi has fired 45 shots and created 27 chances in the South American World Cup Qualifiers (more than any other player). Messi, who has scored six goals as of now, requires three to become the top-scorer in this edition.