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After scoring his 79th international goal on Thursday night, Lionel Messi shattered Pele’s South American men’s goals record.

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In Argentina’s 3-0 World Cup qualification win over Bolivia in Buenos Aires, Messi scored a magnificent hat-trick.

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He now has a two-goal advantage against the great Brazilian.

 

Only Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) of Brazil have scored more international goals than Messi.

 

After the game, Messi said, “I really wanted to be able to enjoy it.”

 

“I had waited a long time for this, had searched for it, and had fantasized about it. It’s a one-of-a-kind moment because of how it transpired after so much anticipation.

 

“There was no better place to be to commemorate this than here. My mother and brothers are in the audience… They’ve been through a lot, and now they’re here to celebrate. I’m overjoyed.”