Lionel Messi scores 800th goal of his career as Cristiano Ronaldo sets new record
L ionel Messi notched his 800th career goal in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Panama in Buenos Aires.
The 35-year-old became the second player to hit the landmark after Cristiano Ronaldo, in Argentina’s first match since their World Cup triumph.
Messi now boasts 99 international goals, and will have the chance to bring up a century when Argentina play Curacao on Tuesday.
Messi’s 89th minute free-kick sent an adoring El Monumental crowd into even greater raptures, on a night of celebration for that Qatar 2022 victory.
“I always dreamed of this moment, celebrating with you,” Messi told the crowd on the pitch after the match.
“To come to my country and lift a Copa America, the Finalissima and the greatest of all trophies, the World Cup.
“I know this is our day to celebrate, but I don’t want to forget all the team-mates who were here before, who also put everything on the field to achieve this, and they were very close before.
“They deserve all the recognition of the Argentine fans because they always did their best for these colours.”
Messi racked up 672 goals in 17 seasons at Barcelona, before slotting 29 for current club Paris Saint-Germain.
The diminutive forward has claimed four Champions League victories and 10 La Liga titles, to add to the Copa America and December’s World Cup win.
Messi should reach 900 club appearances next season if he stays fit, with the opportunity to score in his 20th consecutive top-flight campaign.
His 172 appearances make him Argentina’s most-capped player, and only Cristiano Ronaldo with 120 goals and Ali Daei with 109 are ahead of him on the international scoring charts.
Ronaldo set a new all-time international appearances record with his 197th cap in Portugal’s 4-0 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Liechtenstein. The 38-year-old netted twice as Portugal cruised to victory.