Messi scores hat-trick vs Guatemala, overtakes Maradona goal record | inside World Soccer

Lionel Messi overtook Diego Maradona's goal tally for Argentina on Friday night with a hat-trick in a 4-0 friendly win against Guatemala.

Lionel Messi scores a penalty against Guatemala for his 34th goal in Argentina colours
Lionel Messi scores a penalty against Guatemala for his 34th goal in Argentina colours

Photo: Reuters

The Barcelona forward returned to the starting line-up after coming from the bench in the previous two matches because of a recent injury and immediately took center-stage.

With just 15 minutes played, Messi opened the scoring with a perfectly-struck 30-yard effort that gave Guatemala goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez no chance.

He turned provider for the second nine minutes before half-time, crossing for Augusto Fernández to get in front of his marker and head in to make it 2-0.

Messi then earned the penalty he converted in the 40th minute, drawing level with Maradona in the process with his 34th goal in Argentina colours.

The hat-trick was completed just four minutes after the break as Messi finished off a fine team move.

With the hat-trick, Messi pulled level with Hernán Crespo on 35 goals for the Albiceleste but remains well behind Gabriel Batistuta, who scored an incredible 56 goals in 78 internationals.

However, the 25-year-old insisted after the game that achieving individual milestones are not his priority.

He said: "Having overtaken Maradona is not important. The main thing was to end this friendly well as a team, which isn't easy ahead of the holidays.


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