Argentina’s national football team, the World Cup champions, enjoyed victory in their first game since their triumph in Qatar, beating Panama. However, it was the celebration of the team’s captain, Lionel Messi, that ensured that the match took on an historic significance. Messi scored his 800th career goal at a senior level, via a free-kick in the 89th minute at the Monumental de Nunez Stadium in Buenos Aires, to become only the second player to reach this landmark after his long-term rival, Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi’s career tally includes 672 goals for Barcelona and 29 for Paris Saint Germain, as well as 99 international goals, including two in the final of the World Cup.
In a ceremony after the game, which was held to celebrate the team’s World Cup triumph, a delighted Messi said, “I always dreamed of this moment, to celebrate with you in my country Argentina…Let’s keep doing what we are doing and enjoy this, because we have been waiting a long time to win it again. Let’s enjoy the third star.” Messi’s long list of landmark achievements includes four Champions Leagues, 10 La Liga titles, the Copa America and a World Cup winner’s medal. He has won the prized Ballon d’Or seven times, the only major competition that Messi has yet to win is the French Cup.
Messi will pass 900 club appearances next season, and he will likely have the record for goals in men’s international games in his sights. Currently, he is 20 goals behind Ronaldo, but he has some work to do. As for Messi’s career progression beyond those landmarks, many wonder what more can be achieved and whether the end of his illustrious career is nearing.
The 35-year-old continues to demonstrate that he is one of the greatest football players of all time, and his influence on Argentina’s national team has been immense. Argentina faces Curacao on Tuesday, and there is no doubt that football fans worldwide will remain glued to the ongoing achievements of the iconic footballer, Lionel Messi.