There has always been talk about whether Lionel Messi is on a par with those considered by many to be the greatest players in the history of world football: Diego Armando Maradona and Edson Arantes do Nascimento 'Pelé'.
Messi has made history at club level with a splendid few years at FC Barcelona, once becoming Spain's all-time top scorer in La Liga and the second-highest scorer in the Champions League, second only to Cristiano Ronaldo, but he has always been blamed for his lack of success with the Argentina national team. The latest Copa America triumph for the Albiceleste eased the situation somewhat, despite the fact that he has yet to win a World Cup with his country, and now comes another historic record to add to the footballing career of what many others consider to be the best player in history and, for the vast majority, the best player in the world today. The current Paris Saint Germain player scored a hat trick in Argentina's last qualifier against Bolivia for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and with those goals became the all-time top scorer for a South American national team, surpassing the legendary Pele. The Argentina ten-goaler now has 79 goals for Argentina compared to the Brazilian star's 77 goals in his day.
Argentina beat Bolivia 3-0 in the Qatar World Cup qualifier at River Plate's Monumental stadium and all the goals were scored by the Argentine star in a display that gave the Albiceleste the victory, which keeps second place in the South American World Cup qualifying group, only surpassed for the moment by Brazil, with which the Argentine team remains firmly on course for the World Cup to be held on Qatari soil.
Messi wanted to get rid of the bad taste in his mouth of the last drama in the match between Brazil and Argentina, which was suspended shortly after kick-off due to problems with the permission of four Argentine players to play because of the Brazilian Ministry of Health's indications that they could not leave the hotel to play the match due to problems with the entry forms for national territory regarding their previous stay in certain countries affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, specifically the United Kingdom, where the footballers play in the English Premier League.
Messi's first goal against Bolivia brought him level with Pele, and for such a milestone the goal was a beautifully crafted one. He tunneled in front of the box to the opposing defender and with a left-footed shot he was able to beat the Bolivian goalkeeper with his left foot.
The second goal of his personal account was the one that allowed him to surpass the Brazilian legend, and he could even add a third goal to round off the victory and his new personal best that takes him one step further into the Olympus of world football.