Soccer

Even Lionel Messi couldn’t believe his shot turned into a goal for Argentina

Lionel Messi has scored his fair share of goals for Argentina during his international career. He’s the nation’s all-time leading scorer and the South American continent’s all-time leading scorer in World Cup qualifying matches.

But he hasn’t scored many goals like the opener against Uruguay that set his country on its way to another victory on its path to qualifying for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Argentina has 22 points after 10 matches and it sits in second place in the standings, six points behind leaders Brazil.

Here’s his latest goal: Check out where he floated this ball, how he did it, and how it ended up in the back of the net (the video is all cued up):

More Lionel Messi action vs. Uruguay

That was the opening goal of the match in a 3-0 victory. But Messi wasn’t done putting on a show for the fans at the El Monumental in Buenos Aires.

There’s this skill move that will make you wonder how a 34-year-old can still pull this off:

Then there’s the pass that he dished out on the third goal that capped the victory. The strategy is pretty clear: Give Messi the ball and let him attract every defender, then pass to the open guy:

What’s that? You want more Messi? Here’s the compilation of his day at the office against Uruguay:

Lionel Messi like Diego Maradona

It was on that last Argentina goal, where Messi attracted the attention of seven Uruguay defenders and resulted in one of the most iconic photos that will feature the soccer legend: 

It was a snapshot that immediately brings to mind the World Cup photo of fellow Argentine Diego Maradona facing up a group of Belgian defenders.

Lionel Messi’s new record

Messi became the first South American player to reach 80 international goals scored after hitting the back of the net against Uruguay. 

He actually broke the record in September, surpassing the 77 goals by Brazil legend Pele after he netted a hat-trick in a World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia. The tally against Uruguay takes Messi to 80 goals in 156 appearances.

Will Messi win FIFA Ballon d’Or?

Messi’s performances with Argentina continue to help build his case to win his unprecedented seventh FIFA Ballon d’Or as the male Player of the Year.

The list of 30 finalists for the award were recently released and Messi has some competition with the campaigning happening from teammates and coaches for two players in particular: Chelsea and Italian national teamer Jorginho (UEFA Champions League and Euro 2021) and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.

After his goal against Uruguay, Messi’s up to 38 goals and 14 assists during the calendar year. And while the team trophy haul may look different from his halcyon days at FC Barcelona — he has the Copa America with Argentina and a Copa del Rey with Barcelona in 2021 — he’s still arguably the most compelling candidate out there.

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