Lionel Messi Breaks Pele’s South American Men’s Record for International Career Goals

Lionel Messi continues making history…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer has scored his 79th international career goal for Argentina, surpassing the South American men’s record held by Brazil legend Pele.

Lionel Messi

Messi scored all three goals in Argentina’s 3-0 win over Bolivia on Thursday in a World Cup qualifying match at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, giving him two more than Pele, who had 77 career goals in international play.

Messi trails Brazilian duo Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) for the overall record for most goals scored by any South American player at the international level.

Third on the men’s list is Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar, who has 69 international goals for Brazil.

“I was very nervous, I just wanted to enjoy the night. I waited a long time for this,” an emotional Messi said after the match. “We won the game [and] that was the most important thing and now we can celebrate.”

Three-time World Cup winner Pele remains in hospital due to surgery for a tumor on his colon on Monday, although the 80-year-old said the operation was a “great victory.”

Messi has had a memorable summer — changing clubs from Barcelona to PSG in August and winning his first senior international football title in July. He and La Albiceleste claimed the Copa America from Brazil in a 1-0 win at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.

After Thursday’s result, Messi danced with his teammates and showed off the Copa trophy to the 21,000 supporters present.

“It was a unique moment [to win the Copa America] because of where and how we obtained the title,” Messi said.

“There was no better way to do it and be able to celebrate the title now, it’s incredible. My mother, my brothers are here in the stands. They have suffered a lot … I’m very happy.”

Thursday’s game also came days after Argentina’s World Cup qualifying match against Brazil — their first rematch since the Copa final — was controversially suspended. Brazilian health authorities entered the pitch at Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena with the game in progress and accused four Argentina players of failing to follow Brazil’s COVID-19 protocols for entering the country.

With 26 goals in World Cup qualifying matches following his hat-trick against Bolivia, Messi also passes Uruguay star Luis Suarez — his former teammate at Barcelona — for most among CONMEBOL players.

With eight career goals vs. Bolivia in 11 games, it is Messi’s most against a single opponent while donning the Argentina shirt.

Messi is also his country’s men’s all-time leading scorer, having moved past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016. He is also Argentina’s most capped player, with Thursday’s match against Bolivia marking his 153rd international appearance.

Prior to the Copa America victory, Messi had lost four major finals with Argentina’s senior side. They were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and had lost in the final at the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016.

He had won the under-20 World Cup in 2005 and an Olympic gold medal with Argentina’s U23s in 2008.

Messi joined PSG over the summer on a shock free-agent move after two decades with Barcelona. Messi had been with Barcelona since 2001, joining the academy the year before.

Messi played 778 games at Barcelona, breaking Xavi Hernandez‘s appearance record in the 2020-21 season. In addition, he scored 672 goals, another club record, and helped Barca win, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions.

Dani Alves Helps Lead Brazil to Gold in Men’s Soccer at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

He may be 38, but Dani Alves has managed to collect a new title… Olympic champion.

The Brazilian soccer star helped lead his country to the gold medal in men’s soccer at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Dani Alves

Draped in the Brazilian flag, Alves – the captain of the team – cherished the 43rd winners’ medal of a career that shows no sign of winding down.

All that’s missing from the set of major honors after this 2-1 victory over Spain — secured in extra time by Malcolm — is World Cup glory.

Don’t write off the game’s most decorated player trying to make it to Qatar next year. He’s keen.

“I’m a dreamer, a small dreamer, and more than a dreamer, somebody who executes their dreams,” Alves said. “The most important thing is to fight, and that’s what I know what to do. I have the drive of a 23-year-old. I still want to do big things in football.”

The right back was determined to come to the Tokyo Games after not being part of the 2016 Olympic gold on home soil at the 2016 Rio Games.

“I fought to be in three Olympic Games,” he said. “I am grateful to all the people who worked with me, that believed in me, and I want them to know that all the hard work has paid off.”

He managed to play all of Brazil’s six games in Japan — 600 minutes in 16 days.

“This is a dream coming true, to be on the top of the Olympic podium,” he said. “No matter how much history you have, how much experience you have. I came here for the first time and to come back with the biggest prize … I am lost for words.”

It was Alves who set up the opener, keeping alive Claudinho’s cross and hooking the ball back into the area for Matheus Cunha to strike into first-half stoppage time.

“My captain Dani, he’s unbelievable, he helps everyone,” Cunha said. “I think this feeling, he comes to the group and the feeling goes up.”

He was one of only three permitted overage players in a youthful squad that idolized him growing up as he collected trophies at Juventus, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

“You know the difference in age is a little bit (big),” the 22-year-old Cunha said. “I’m like a little boy when I saw Barcelona, the Brazil national team, and now we were together, we take one gold medal for Brazil.”

They had to work for it against a Spain side featuring six players coming straight from the run to the European Championship.

Spain tied it in the 61st minute when Mikel Oyarzabal volleyed in from Carlos Soler’s cross. Spain hit the crossbar twice late in regulation time — from Oscar Gil and Bryan Gil.

The inability to find the target meant Spain ended up with silver — and no repeat of the 1992 Barcelona Games gold — after Malcom’s winner in the 108th minute.

The forward, who came off the bench for extra time, held off Jesus Vallejo before racing forward and seeing his shot from a tight angle deflect off goalkeeper Unai Simon’s left boot and fly into the net.

Angel Di Maria Leads Argentina to Copa America Title

Angel Di Maria will be getting a hero’s welcome…

Argentina won their first major title in 28 years on Saturday when a goal by the 33-year-old Argentine professional footballer gave them a 1-0 win over Brazil and a record-equaling 15th Copa America.

Angel Di Maria

Argentina’s win was a particular triumph for Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who picked up his first ever title in a blue and white shirt after more than a decade of club and individual honors.

Di Maria started for just the second time in the Copa and he justified his selection by scoring the opener midway through the first half.

Renan Lodi failed to cut out a long ball forward from Rodrigo De Paul and Di Maria lobbed the stranded Ederson with aplomb.

Brazil piled on the pressure in an exciting second half but even with five strikers on the field they could not get an equalizer against an Argentine defense protected by the outstanding De Paul.

“I can’t cry yet,” Di Maria said after the match. “We dreamed of getting this, and we fought. Many people criticized us and asked us not to come back [to the national team].”

The match itself was a disappointing one, with Argentina the better side in a cagey first half that featured 21 fouls.

“First we have to congratulate our opponents especially for the first half when they neutralized us,” said Brazilian defender Thiago Silva.

“In the second half there was no contest — only one team tried to play football, the other just wasted time as we knew they would. It’s not an excuse, we didn’t do what we had to, principally in the first half.”

The Argentine players surrounded their captain at the final whistle. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez celebrated what he called a Maracanazo, a remarkable win at the famous Rio stadium.

“I’m speechless,” he said. “I knew my dream would come true, and where better than the Maracanazo and giving the title to the best in the world and fulfilling his dream.”

Messi finished the tournament’s joint top goalscorer with four goals and was elected joint best player along with Neymar. But he was quiet throughout and uncharacteristically missed a golden opportunity to wrap the game up with two minutes remaining.

When the final whistle went, Argentina TV declared “Argentina Champions, Lionel Messi Champion!”

“This is a very big title,” said Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni. “I hope that Argentines can enjoy it. The fans love the team unconditionally and I think they identify with this side that never drops its guard.”

The victory was Argentina’s 15th Copa America triumph and means they draw level with Uruguay as the all-time leading winners.

Their win extended their sequence of undefeated matches to 20 under Lionel Scaloni and handed Brazil their first competitive defeat since they lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup.

Lionel Messi Helps Lead Argentina into Copa America Final Against Brazil

Lionel Messi is celebrating a big win…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer, currently a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired, helped lead Argentina to victory, as his team beat Colombia on penalties on Tuesday to set up a Copa America final against Brazil.

Lionel Messi

Argentina won 3-2 following a 1-1 draw in normal time in Brasilia.

Messi continued his special tournament by assisting a 7th-minute Lautaro Martinez goal, but an off-balance Luis Diaz restored level terms in the second half.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and former Arsenal man David Ospina took center stage for penalties, where Messi smashed his home past Ospina.

Martinez then saved penalties from Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez, Everton’s Yerry Mina, and Boca JuniorsEdwin Cardona to lead Argentina

https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer/status/1412579522252349443

Vicky Losada Joins Manchester City on Two-Year Deal

Vicky Losada is heading to the City

The 30-year-old Spanish football midfielder and former Barcelona captain has joined Manchester City on a two-year deal, the club has announced.

Vicky Losada

Losada announced in June that she’d leave the Catalan club after 16 years, calling it “the most difficult decision” of her life.

She led Barca to a treble-winning season this year after securing the Primera Iberdrola, the Champions League and the Copa de la Reina.

“It was very hard to me because I’ve been playing for Barca since I was 14 years old. Sometimes you feel like you need a change and close a chapter in my life and when the offer came from England it made things easier for me and also winning the Champions League definitely brought me the security to make the decision,” Losada told ESPN about her decision to move to City.

“I want to be very honest to you, new girls from La Masia came up to the team. They were bringing a very good level and I wanted to get more minutes and it wasn’t happening but I was also so happy at the same time that I was always helping the team.

“I just wanted to be more important and basically happier when I wake up and I have to go to the training ground. So that was changing a little bit so I had my thoughts every night with myself and in the end it was the perfect end to a year that was unforgettable to me.”

Losada came through Barca’s academy system La Masia and spent the majority of her playing career at the club.

However, she did spend a year-and-a-half with Arsenal in the Women’s Super League where she won the league cup and the FA Cup.

She said this time with Arsenal made her eager for a return to the WSL, despite her love for her home side in Spain.

“I said all the time I was missing the English league. All these years, I came back to Barcelona because it was home for me but I am so happy to be coming back to England. It’s true that the weather never got used to that but I think I’ll be able to handle it,” she added.

“I think it is a very competitive league and they have very good players. Every year the best players in the world not just English or British players want to go to the WSL and also I think the structure, I can see it from here. We’re missing a lot of things in the Spanish league — visibility, TV, fans. I really think they’re doing a massive job and they’re looking after women’s football.”

Losada leaves Barca with six league titles, one Champions League title, seven Copa de la Reina titles, one Supercopa Femenina title and eight Copa Catalunya titles.

Lionel Messi Becomes Argentina’s Most-Capped Player

Lionel Messi is Argentina’s player with the mostest…

The 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer became Argentina‘s most-capped player on Monday when he captained the Albiceleste in their 4-1 win over Bolivia at the Copa America.

Lionel Messi

The Barcelona star has now turned out 148 times for his country, moving him ahead of former Barca teammate Javier Mascherano, who had 147 caps.

Ex-Inter Milan defender Javier Zanetti held the record before Mascherano and completes the podium with 143 international appearances.

With 75 goals for Argentina, Messi is also his country’s all-time leading scorer, having moved past Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016.

Sergio Aguero, who won his 100th international cap against Bolivia, is third in the rankings with 42 goals.

Messi, who turned 34 last week, has won everything in the game at club level but is yet to taste success in senior international football.

He won the Under-20 World Cup in 2005 and an Olympic gold medal with Argentina’s U23s in 2008, but has lost four major finals with the first team.

With Messi in the side, Argentina were beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and have lost at the last stage in the Copa America in 2007, 2015 and 2016.

As Messi focuses on winning a first major trophy with his country this summer, his future at Barca remains unresolved.

His contract with the club expires on Wednesday and if a new deal is not agreed upon before then, he officially becomes a free agent on Thursday.

However, Barca are working hard to reach an agreement over a new contract and are confident he will extend his 20-year relationship with the club.

Sergio Aguero Finalizing Deal with FC Barcelona

Sergio Aguero could be switching sides very soon…

FC Barcelona is finalizing the signing of the 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer on a free transfer this summer, according to ESPN.

Sergio Aguero

Barca have offered Aguero a two-year contract and sources say the Argentina international could arrive to the Camp Nou after the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea on May 29.

Aguero, who will turn 33 next month, has agreed to considerably reduce his wages and will join as a free agent once his contract with Manchester City expires on June 30.

Barca have been looking for a No. 9 since Luis Suarez‘s departure to Atletico Madrid last summer.

Club president Joan Laporta sees Aguero’s potential arrival as a great opportunity for Barca because of the former Atletico star’s experience and that no transfer fee is required.

Barca came close to signing Aguero in 2014 but decided instead to acquire Suarez.

Aguero has other important offers on the table, and his willingness to lower his wages to arrive to the Camp Nou is valued by the club, according to a source.

Barca are convinced that in the short term, Aguero will outperform Martin Braithwaite, who has scored seven goals this season. The Denmark international is expected to be placed on the transfer list this summer.

Barca also believe that Aguero’s signing would help persuade his friend and Argentina teammate Lionel Messi to renew his contract.

Messi, whose contract expires next month, has yet to sign a new deal with Barca.

Joan Laporta Elected New President of FC Barcelona

Joan Laporta is returning to Camp Nou

The 58-year-old Spanish lawyer has been elected the new president of FC Barcelona, returning to the post he previously held from 2003 to 2010.

Joan Laporta

Barca members voted Laporta into power on Sunday ahead of rival candidates Victor Font and Toni Freixa. The club called the election on Sunday night, with Laporta winning with 30,184 votes and Font coming in second and Freixa third with 16,679 and 4,769 votes, respectively.

Barca said 51,765 out of 109,531 eligible members had voted in the election, which was postponed from January due to coronavirus restrictions in Catalonia.

Among those to vote were first-team players Lionel MessiSergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, as well as the club’s former coach and current Spain boss Luis Enrique.

“I want to thank all the members for coming out to vote what has been the most important election in the club’s history due to [the effects of] the coronavirus pandemic, which has changed our lives,” Laporta said in a brief speech.

“I want to thank the members that have supported our campaign. This has been a celebration of democracy and of Barcelona. I also want to pay special thanks to Johan Cruyff, who’s no longer with us. I am sure he’s helped us.

“Barcelona is a huge family, and we will overcome the difficulties together. We will achieve the objectives that we have set out.”

Laporta takes over at a critical moment in the club’s history. Gross debt has risen to €1.2 billion during the coronavirus pandemic, with players forced to accept pay cuts, and star player Messi is out of contract in June and will walk away for free if new terms cannot be agreed upon.

Laporta said the fact that Messi voted on Sunday was “significant.”

“Today, 20 years ago, Messi made his debut for Barca’s youth teams,” he added. “To see the best player in the world, the player in the history of football, coming to vote, is a sign of what we have said throughout the campaign: that Messi loves Barca.

“The best player in the world loves Barca, and that is very significant. We’re going to encourage him to continue with the club, which is what we all want.”

Lionel Messi Notches 200th Barcelona Assist During Team’s 1-0 Win Over Huesca

Make that 200 assists for Lionel Messi

Barcelona moved to fifth place in La Liga with a victory at Huesca on Sunday, with the 33-year-old Argentine soccer star earning a special assist.

Lionel Messi

Frenkie de Jong scored in the 27th minute for Ronald Koeman‘s side, who are now unbeaten over their last six matches.

Messi provided the assist on de Jong’s goal, giving him 200 for his Blaugrana career.

It was Messi’s 500th appearance for Barcelona in La Liga when he took to the pitch at El Alcoraz for Sunday’s La Liga clash against Huesca.

The captain was back in the starting XI to lead his team out for their first game of 2021 after sitting out the draw against Eibar last time out.

Messi becomes the first non-Spanish player to reach 500 games in La Liga and is now just five behind Xavi’s record of La Liga appearances for Barca.

The Argentina international is also close to moving past Xavi and becoming Barca’s all-time appearance maker.

Xavi played in a total of 767 games for Barcelona, while Messi is now on 750.

Former goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta holds the record for the most La Liga appearances. He managed 622 during a career which saw him play for Athletic, Barcelona and Valencia.

Barca now have 28 points from 16 matches, one behind fourth-placed Villarreal and 10 behind table-toppers Atletico Madrid, who still have a game in hand.

Huesca sit at the bottom of the table with 12 points after 17 matches.

The Catalans next face Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, while Huesca will host Real Betis on January 11.

Lionel Messi Moves Past Pele to Become the New Leader in the Single Club Goal Tally

Lionel Messi has overtaken a legend…

The 33-year-old Argentine professional soccer star has surpassed Brazil’s legendary footballer Pele to become the player to score the most goals for a single club after taking his tally to 644 on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi

The record-breaking goal came in the second half of Barca‘s 3-0 win at Valladolid, with Messi taking the ball in stride off a nifty flick from Pedri for a finish into the corner of the net.

Pele struck 643 competitive goals for Santos during an 18-year stay with the Brazilian club. He left for the New York Cosmos in 1975 and until Messi’s goal, the record had stood ever since.

 

Gerd Muller came closest to matching Pele’s one-club goal-scoring feat. The former Germany international netted 565 times for Bayern Munich between 1964 and 1979. The top five is completed by Fernando Peyroteo (Sporting CP 1937-49, 544 goals) and Josef Bican (Slavia Prague 1950s, 534 goals).

 

“When I started to play football, I never thought I would break any record. Especially not the record held by Pele that I now hold,” Messi wrote on Instagram after Tuesday’s game. “I can only give thanks to everyone that has helped me throughout the years, my teammates, my family, my friends and everyone that supports me every day.”

 

The only other active player still in the top 10 is Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 450 goals for Real Madrid. The Juventus striker is 10th behind Jimmy McGrory (Celtic 1922-37, 522 goals), Jimmy Jones (Glenavon 1951-62, 517 goals), Uwe Seeler (Hamburg 1953-72, 507 goals) and Eusebio (Benfica 1961-75, 473 goals).

Messi’s Barcelona goals have been spread across 16 years in the club’s first team. He scored his first professional goal in 2005 against Albacete as a 17-year-old.

Along with Ronaldo, who played for Manchester United before Madrid and Juve, Messi has taken goal scoring to new heights over the past decade. Everyone else in the top 10 has been retired for at least 40 years.

Messi reached his zenith in the 2011-12 season, Pep Guardiola‘s final year in charge of Barcelona, when he scored 73 goals in all competitions. That tally was sandwiched in between 53 the previous season and 60 the season after.

The Argentina forward has scored more than 50 goals in a season on six occasions, including 58 in 2014-15 when he won his second Treble as a Barca player.

Messi replaced Cesar Rodriguez (232 goals) as Barca’s top scorer in 2012 and overtook Telmo Zarra (251 league goals) as the record scorer in La Liga in 2014.

In addition to his 644 goals with Barca’s senior side, he scored 11 goals for the C team and the B team as a teenager.