Lionel Messi has become the second Argentinian player in history to score 50 international goals after scoring against Bolivia on Wednesday. The 28-year-old scored in the 30th minute of the 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes in Cordoba to reach the half-century for the Albiceleste – a feat only ever achieved before by Gabriel Batistuta.
Former Fiorentina and Roma man Batistuta finished up his international career with 54 goals in 78 matches between 1991 and 2002, meaning Messi is closing in on the all-time record – he now sits a clear fourth on the all-time caps list with 107 after overtaking Diego Simeone on Wednesday.
The Barcelona star, who has helped Argentina to World Cup and Copa America finals over the past two years, found his 50th goal in his 107th appearance for his national side. Messi speaking to reporters after the match said he is excited about the six points, which was the objective at start of these two games and this will help him to improve more.”
Fresh from an impressive 2-1 win over Chile on Thursday, this match against Bolivia was expected to be a far easier ride for Gerardo Martino’s men and that is how it proved to be as they controlled proceedings from the beginning. It took them 20 minutes to make the breakthrough and owed much to Messi’s superb vision. Inevitably, Messi was at the heart of everything Argentina was doing.
The victory cements Argentina’s place in the automatic qualification berths of South America’s round-robin competition with 11 points from six games. Messi now needs to score one more, to reach 500 career goals for club and country, as his current record for Barca and Argentina stands at 499, a milestone prospect that could be achieved with Barcelona this weekend when the Spanish giants take on Real Madrid in the Clasico.