After winning the World Cup, there were worries that Argentina forward Lionel Messi might stop playing for his country, but he is still an outstanding player.
After scoring a hat-trick in Argentina’s win over Curacao on Tuesday night, Lionel Messi reached the milestone of 100 goals in international play.
After helping his side win the World Cup, some predicted that the Paris Saint-Germain forward would retire from international competition. Messi won the award for best player in the tournament in Qatar after scoring for Lionel Scaloni’s team in each and every knockout game.
Yet once the national training centre was named in his honour, the veteran decided against retiring and came back as a hero for the world champions’ two friendly against Panama and Curacao. He scored against Panama to bring his total to an enticing 99 at the international level, and he added three more in his nation’s second game to become the first Argentine to reach the 100-point plateau.
Messi scored three goals against Curacao, three of which came in the first 37 minutes, including his nation’s first goal midway through the first half. Together with Nicolas Gonzalez, Angel Di Maria, and Gonzalo Montiel, who converted the game-winning penalty in the World Cup final shootout, Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez was also on target.
Prior to the World Cup championship game, Messi had acknowledged it would “certainly” be his last appearance in that particular competition. He scored twice throughout the game, but Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick forced penalties, where Scaloni’s team won.
“[I am] overjoyed to have accomplished this. I want to finish my World Cup experience by playing my last game in a championship,” the attacker said prior to the game. “What I experienced during this World Cup, including what other people experienced and how Argentina’s citizens are enjoying it, was incredibly exhilarating.”
In order to secure a contract extension at PSG, it has been suggested that Messi could have to give up playing for his country. At the end of the current campaign, the 35-year-contract old’s at Parc des Princes expires, and Major League Soccer has expressed interest.