Messi nets hat-trick, is SA’s all-time top-scorer

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi became the top international goal-scorer in South American history on Thursday, overtaking Brazilian legend Pele.The 34-year-old talisman netted all the goals during Argentina’s 3-0 win against Bolivia in a World Cup qualifying match, and now has 79 for the national team. Messi has scored his goals in 153 caps for Argentina, while Pele struck his 77 in 92 official matches for Brazil.

All three goals at the Monumental Stadium – which hosted about 20,000 fans – were pieces of art by the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. The first strike came in the 14th minute, with Messi moving the ball between a Bolivian defender’s legs and shooting from outside the box to the right of goalkeeper Carlos Lampe. For the second goal in the 64th minute, Messi and striker Lautaro Martinez dazzled the Bolivian defence with a quick exchange of passes. The former had time to dribble past one defender before finding the back of the net. Messi completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute from close range.