Messi scores five to overtake Puskas tally


Lionel Messi moved up to fourth in the all-time scoring charts in men’s international football

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 rout.

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.

Line-ups

Argentina

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Armani
  • 26MolinaSubstituted forMontielat 74′minutes
  • 6Pezzella
  • 16Mart铆nezSubstituted forSenesiat 62′minutes
  • 8Acu帽aSubstituted forGonz谩lezat 73′minutes
  • 7de PaulSubstituted forPalaciosat 62′minutes
  • 5Mac AllisterSubstituted forFoythat 66′minutes
  • 17G贸mez
  • 9脕lvarez
  • 10Messi
  • 19CorreaSubstituted forDybalaat 62′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Foyth
  • 3Tagliafico
  • 4Montiel
  • 11Di Mar铆a
  • 12Rulli
  • 14Palacios
  • 15Gonz谩lez
  • 18Rodr铆guez
  • 20Lo Celso
  • 21Dybala
  • 23Musso
  • 25Senesi

Estonia

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Igonen
  • 16P眉rgSubstituted forKuuskat 63′minutes
  • 15Paskotsi
  • 18Mets
  • 23Teniste
  • 21MillerSubstituted forVassiljevat 63′minutes
  • 13Soomets
  • 4K盲itSubstituted forSinyavskiyat 63′minutes
  • 3PikkSubstituted forKallasteat 69′minutes
  • 10ZenjovSubstituted forAnierat 45′minutes
  • 9SorgaSubstituted forKirssat 83′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Kuusk
  • 5Kreida
  • 6Lukka
  • 7Puri
  • 8Anier
  • 11Sinyavskiy
  • 12Hein
  • 14Vassiljev
  • 17Kirss
  • 19Kallaste
  • 20Poom
  • 22Vallner

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