Lionel Messi 100: The Argentina great's five best international goals

By Sports Desk March 28, 2023

With his strike against Curacao on Tuesday, Lionel Messi reached another landmark by scoring 100 goals for Argentina.

The 35-year-old brought up the milestone in style, receiving a 20th-minute pass from Giovani Lo Celso before jinking past two Curacao defenders and rifling in a low right-foot finish.

The man considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time had come in for some criticism over the years for his performances at international level.

That was until he led Argentina to Copa America success in 2021 and followed that up at last year's World Cup, starring as La Albiceleste recovered from a shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia to beat defending champions France in the final on penalties.

Of course, the sheer volume of his goals has been breathtaking, with only Cristiano Ronaldo and Ali Daei scoring more in international men's football.

But Stats Perform picked out five individual strikes that were particularly memorable.

Argentina v Mexico (July 11, 2007)

Having only just turned 20, Messi was expected to win the Copa America for his country in 2007.

Ultimately, Argentina were beaten in the final by Brazil, but not before Messi had graced the stage with a sumptuous lob in their 3-0 win against Mexico in the semi-finals, being fed on the right of the penalty before an outrageous lob over Oswaldo Sanchez into the far corner.

Argentina v Brazil (June 9, 2012)

The two great rivals faced each other in New Jersey as they prepared for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and a topsy-turvy contest had already seen Messi score twice.

In the 84th minute and with the score tied at 3-3, Messi went as trademark as possible, picking up the ball on the right just into the Brazil half before dribbling for goal. He cut inside the nearest defender on the edge of the box and curled a shot into the top-left corner of the net.

Argentina v Paraguay (September 7, 2012)

Just a few months later, Messi was at it from distance again, this time even further out as he showed off his supreme free-kick taking ability.

With Argentina leading Paraguay 2-1 in their World Cup qualifier, Messi lined up a set-piece effort a little over 30 yards out, whipping the ball over the wall and in off the goalkeeper's left-hand post.

Argentina v Iran (June 21, 2014)

In their second group game of the 2014 World Cup, Argentina had struggled to break down a resolute Iran side who were on the verge of securing a famous 0-0 draw and valuable point.

That was until Messi picked up the ball on the right in the 91st minute in Belo Horizonte. He darted inside, as he so often does, and curled a sumptuous effort past Alireza Haghighi from some 25 yards, the ball nestling in the bottom-left corner.

Argentina v Mexico (November 26, 2022)

Having already lost to Saudi Arabia in their first game at the 2022 World Cup, Argentina could not find a way past Mexico in the first hour of their second encounter either.

Or, they couldn't until their captain stepped up.

With raucous fans urging them on at Lusail Stadium, Messi received a pass from Angel Di Maria before hitting a shot from outside the box low and hard to Guillermo Ochoa's left, lighting the touchpaper that would ultimately end with the trophy in his hands at the end of the campaign.

 

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