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.

Lionel Messi Photo with Copa America Trophy Now Most-Liked Sports Photo on Instagram 

Lionel Messi is the new IG sports image king…

An Instagram photo of the 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer holding the Copa America trophy following Argentina’s win over Brazil has become the most liked sports photo on the social media platform, surpassing a record 20 million likes.

Lionel Messi  

Messi celebrated his first major title with Argentina as the Albiceleste lifted the Copa America trophy after a 1-0 win over Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on July 10.

Messi posted the picture with the caption: “What a beautiful madness! This is unbelievable! Thank you, God! We are the champions!”

The post broke the previous record of 19.8 million likes that was held by Cristiano Ronaldo after he paid tribute to Diego Maradona following his death.

Ronaldo shared a black and white photograph of himself with Maradona and wrote: “Today I’m saying goodbye to a friend and the world is saying goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best of all-time. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but he leaves a legacy without limits and an emptiness that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”

Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, was voted the top player of the Copa America after his four goals and five assists in the competition.

The Argentina captain is expected to sign a new contract with Barcelona soon.

Lionel Messi Reportedly Agrees to New Five-Year-Deal with FC Barcelona

Not so fast! Lionel Messi may not be going anywhere…

The 34-year-old Argentine superstar footballer and FC Barcelona have reportedly reached an agreement for the forward to sign a new five-year deal with the Catalan club, according to ESPN.

Lionel MessiSources added that Messi has accepted a significant wage reduction to prolong his stay.

Messi was a free agent after his contract at Barca expired, and he had courted interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City since first revealing a desire to end his 20-year relationship with Barca last summer.

Messi’s previous contract, which was worth over €500 million ($594m) over four years, expired at the stroke of midnight on June 30.

However, with the return of Joan Laporta as president in March, Messi grew more open to staying at Camp Nou. An official announcement is expected in the coming days.

Laporta had hoped to finalize an agreement before Messi’s previous terms expired. Barca’s financial problems made that impossible, though, with their gross debt over €1 billion. Cutbacks have been essential, in terms of transferring players out, reducing the wage bill and getting Messi to accept a lower salary.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned Barca they will not be allowed to register Messi’s new deal if they are unable to reduce spending to comply with the league’s Financial Fair Play rules. Barca’s spending limit has been reduced from over €600m to €347m since the coronavirus pandemic, with further reductions expected to be imposed for the upcoming season.

Therefore, to register Messi’s new deal, in addition to new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, Barca need to continue reducing the wage bill and moving players on. With that in mind, sources at the club refuse to rule out the departure of Antoine Griezmann, a €120m signing in 2019.

Messi is on holiday with his family after his Copa America glory with Argentina last weekend, which was his first senior trophy with his national team.

He will link up with Ronald Koeman‘s squad later in the summer, with Barca’s league campaign kicking off on August 15 against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.

Messi had first expressed a desire to leave Barca last August after the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. His relationship with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu had reached a breaking point. In a September 2020 interview with Goal, after Barca had blocked his departure, Messi called Bartomeu a “liar” and said the board had been “making things up as they go along” and “plugging holes” for years.

Bartomeu, facing a vote of no confidence, resigned last October and was eventually replaced by Laporta in March. Laporta has a good relationship with Messi and his family. He was Barca’s president when Messi made his first-team debut and when he signed his first professional contract with the club.

Sources told ESPN in April that Laporta was working on a contract renewal for Messi that included the option of playing in Major League Soccer before returning to Barcelona.

In public and in private, Laporta had always maintained that he was “convinced” he could persuade Messi to stay. The club have already made a series of signings this summer, bringing in Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, as well as recalling Emerson Royal.

Messi first joined Barca’s academy in 2000 and has gone on to play 778 games for the club, breaking Xavi Hernandez‘s appearance record last season. He has scored 672 goals, another club record, and has helped Barca win, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions.

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

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: The Latino Celebrity with the Most-Liked Post on Instagram

Lionel Messi is the Latino likes king on Instagram…

Instagram has unveiled its most-liked posts of 2020, reflecting the highs and the notable lows of a rollercoaster 2020, with the 33-year-old Argentine soccer star earning the most likes on any post by a Latinx celebrity.

Lionel Messi

Messi ranked third on the list for his post (16.4 million likes) mourning the death of soccer legend Diego Maradona, who died in November of a heart attack at age 60.

Topping the list is Cristiano Ronaldo with 19.7 million likes on his equally heartbreaking post about Maradona.

Here’s the full list:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (19.7 million likes)
    2. Chadwick Boseman(19.1 million)
    3. Lionel Messi (16.4 million)
    4. Kylie Jenner (16 million)
    5. LeBron James (15.5 million)
    6. Ariana Grande (15.4 million)
    7. Kylie Jenner (15.3 million)
    8. Kylie Jenner (14.5 million)
    9. Cristiano Ronaldo (14.3 million)
    10. Kylie Jenner (14.2 million)