Lionel Messi couldn’t hold back the tears as he finally got to celebrate his first international trophy with Argentina fans following a 3-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Bolivia.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward spearheaded La Albiceleste to their first piece of silverware in 28 years – and his first major international trophy – with their victory in Copa America in July, defeating fierce rivals Brazil 1-0 in the final.
And he was visibly emotional after the game as the whole crowd chanted his name in what was another record-breaking night for the football phenomenon.
The 34-year-old broke Pele’s record for most international goals by a South American footballer with a hat-trick in the 3-0 victory over Bolivia.
He scored all his country’s goals in Buenos Aires, giving him 79 for Argentina and taking him past Pele’s haul for 77 for Brazil.
In front of 20,000 fans at the Monumental Stadium, Messi matched Pele when he opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a shot from outside the box.
He broke the record by dribbling past a defender for his second in the 64th minute, and added his third from a rebound two minutes from the end.
Messi’s Paris St Germain teammate Neymar sits third on the South American list with 68 goals.
“I dreamed about this day a lot and thanks to God it arrived,” Messi posted on Instagram.
“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.”
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