Lionel Messi scored all five of Argentina’s goals as they continued their fine form by thrashing Estonia in a friendly in Pamplona, Spain.
The Argentines swept aside Italy 3-0 in the Finalissima – a game between the champions of Europe and South America – on Wednesday.
Messi provided two assists in that game and he was once again in vintage form.
He opened the scoring with a penalty and then struck two more goals in either half to complete the route.
It is the first time the 34-year-old has scored five in a game for his country. In fact, he has only ever achieved the feat once before in his career, in a 7-1 win for Barcelona over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League in 2012.
His third against Estonia, two minutes after half-time, took him level on 84 goals with Ferenc Puskas as the fourth highest-scorer in the history of men’s international football.
Fourteen minutes later, his fourth of the game meant he had surpassed the legendary Hungarian and now holds that position outright, behind only Malaysia’s Mokhtar Dahari (89), Iran’s Ali Daei (109) and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (117).
He would have been closer still to Ronaldo, but the Portuguese scored twice in his country’s Nations League win against Switzerland on Sunday.
Messi’s goals in Pamplona demonstrated his vast array of skills.
He put Lionel Scaloni’s team ahead with a calm penalty after eight minutes, then doubled the lead with a powerful side-footed effort into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
His third was a predatory finish, showing his trademark precision to direct Nahuel Molina’s right-wing cross into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
His fourth owed much to his alertness. As other players stopped and anticipated a free-kick award that never came, Messi picked up a loose ball, drove into the box, produced a dummy which left the Estonia keeper and a defender lying on the ground and rolled the ball into the empty net .
He concluded his remarkable performance when he was again quickest to react to a loose ball and slotted in a low finish from next to the penalty spot with 14 minutes remaining.
While Estonia did not provide the sternest of tests, this result – coupled with the victory over Italy, their unbeaten World Cup qualifying campaign and last year’s Copa America triumph – suggests Messi could yet have a great chance of winning the World Cup, the one trophy that has eluded him in his glittering career.
- 26MolinaSubstituted forMontielat 74′minutes
- 16MartinezSubstituted forSenesiat 62′minutes
- 8CoinsSubstituted forGonzalezat 73′minutes
- 7by PaulSubstituted forpalacesat 62′minutes
- 5Mac AllisterSubstituted forFoythat 66′minutes
- 19BeltSubstituted forDybalaat 62′minutes
- elevenSay Maria
- twentyLo Celso
- 16PurgSubstituted forKuuskat 63′minutes
- 23you tennis
- twenty-oneMillerSubstituted forVassiljevat 63′minutes
- 4KaitSubstituted forSinyavskiyat 63′minutes
- 3pikkSubstituted forCallasteat 69′minutes
- 10ZenkhovSubstituted forAnierat Four. Five’minutes
- 9sorghumSubstituted forKirssat 83′minutes
Match ends, Argentina 5, Estonia 0.
Second half ends, Argentina 5, Estonia 0.
Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner from a direct free kick.
Paulo Dybala (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ken Kallaste (Estonia).
Corner, Argentina. Awarded by Taijo Teniste.
Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Papu Gómez.
Corner, Argentina. Awarded by Matvei Igonen.
Attempt saved. Papu Gómez (Argentina) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Exequiel Palacios.
Papu Gómez (Argentina) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Taijo Teniste (Estonia).
Corner, Argentina. Awarded by Karol Mets.
Attempt blocked. Paulo Dybala (Argentina) left footed shot from the center of the box is blocked.
Substitution, Estonia. Robert Kirss replaces Erik Sorga.
Foul by Papu Gómez (Argentina).
Erik Sorga (Estonia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Vlasiy Sinyavskiy (Estonia) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ken Kallaste.
Juan Foyth (Argentina) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Henri Anier (Estonia).
Goal! Argentina 5, Estonia 0. Lionel Messi (Argentina) left footed shot from the center of the box to the center of the goal.