In a thrilling night of South American World Cup qualifiers, Lionel Messi etched his name in history as the all-time top scorer in Conmebol World Cup qualifying.
The Argentine maestro delivered a brilliant performance, scoring both goals in Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Peru.
Messi, at 36, showcased his brilliance by opening the scoring after 32 minutes and following it up with a spectacular finish moments later. With these goals, he surpassed Luis Suarez’s record for Uruguay and now boasts 31 goals in Conmebol World Cup qualifiers.
Overwhelmed by the team’s performance, Messi hailed his squad, saying, “This team is incredible. Every time they play, they are very close to being the best in history.”
After securing a World Cup win, Messi expressed confidence in his team’s growth. He shared, “On a game level, I think we have grown. After winning the World Cup, we are confident, very loose, more united, and firm. Hopefully, we can continue to grow.”
Messi’s return to the national team was highly anticipated, as he had missed recent matches due to injury and had not started for his club since September 21.
His impact was evident, and Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni commended the team’s understanding of Messi’s presence, which benefits the entire squad.
Neymar’s Injury Overshadows Lionel Messi’s Brilliance
While Messi’s star shone brightly, a somber moment occurred on the same night as Neymar, the Brazilian forward, suffered a serious knee injury in Brazil’s 2-0 loss to Uruguay.
The 31-year-old forward, who had recently joined Al-Hilal from Paris St-Germain, left the pitch on a stretcher after landing awkwardly during a challenge.
Team captain Casemiro expressed concern for Neymar’s recurring injuries and the setback he faces.
In other matches on Tuesday, Venezuela secured a convincing 3-0 victory against Chile, Paraguay defeated Bolivia 1-0, and Ecuador played out a goalless draw with Colombia.
Despite the mixed results, Argentina remains at the top of the Conmebol standings and is set to face Uruguay and Brazil, currently in second and third place, respectively, in November.
The intense competition and moments of triumph and concern continue to captivate football fans across South America.