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Lionel Messi Breaks Pele's South American Men's Goal Record After Scoring Hat-trick Against Bolivia

Arjun Singh Devgan
Lionel Messi surpassed Pele as highest goalscorer for a male South American footballer at international level
Lionel Messi surpassed Pele as highest goalscorer for a male South American footballer at international level / Pool/Getty Images
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Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain superstar, Lionel Messi is widely considered to be the greatest footballer in the history of the sport, with the striker creating/breaking numerous professional and individual records during his career so far, including winning a record six Ballon d'Or awards.

Messi was at it again during Argentina's 3-0 win over Bolivia in the CONMEBOL FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers, scoring a hat-trick to which was his 79th goal for the La Albiceleste. This means that the 34-year-old is now the all-time highest goalscorer in international football for South American men footballers, surpassing the record set by Brazil legend, Pele who had 77 goals to his name during his illustrious career.

This was not the only record that the legendary striker set on the night as he now has 26 goals in World Cup qualifying matches, going past former Barcelona team-mate and Uruguay star, Luis Suarez - for most among CONMEBOL players.

With eight career goals against Bolivia in 11 games, it is also the most goals Messi has netted against a single opponent while donning the Argentina shirt.

However, when it comes to the overall record including both men and woman footballers, Messi trails Brazilian duo of Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) for most goals scored by any South American player at the international level.

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