One no10 great overtakes another
Lionel Messi surpassed yet another milestone in his superlative career on Friday night, this time at international level, as his hat-trick saw him overtake Diego Maradona’s goal tally for the national team.
Messi’s treble came in Argentina’s comfortable 4-0 friendly win over Guatemala, taking his goals total to 35 – 1 more than Maradona managed whilst representing his country over a 17 year period.
It took 91 caps for Argentina’s former number 10 to reach his figure of 34 goals, whilst the current number 10 has managed to surpass him in just 82 games, supplying yet more ammunition to the many who already believe Messi to be the superior player.
“That was the least important thing,” Messi told TyC Sports when he was asked about overtaking Maradona’s tally. “We wanted to play well in this friendly. The team’s attitude was right.”
Messi, who arrived in Guatemala amid tax fraud allegations – strenuously denied by both the player’s father (who looked after his affairs from an early age) and Barcelona president Sandro Rosell – started the game after being a substitute in Argentina’s recent World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Ecuador, due to his end-of-season injury troubles.
Not content with scoring what was his third hat-trick for the Albiceleste, putting him level with Hernán Crespo as the team’s second highest scorer, Messi also provided an assist for the team’s other scorer, Augusto Fernandez.[youtube id=”fDCfPhfnyBs” width=”620″ height=”360″]
All that remains now is his country’s record goals total – held by Gabriel Batistuta, with 56 – and the small matter of inspiring the side to a World Cup victory; Maradona’s finest achievement, and perhaps his final hurdle to be legitimately hailed as the greatest ever.
Next up for Messi’s Argentina: a trip to the land that helped confirm Diego as the finest fantasista in history; Italy, in August.