Messi: Argentina may surpass Maradona era

Lionel Messi scored twice to help Argentina beat Peru 2-0 away from home and set a new record for the all-time top scorer in a World Cup qualifier in South America. The 2023 Ballon d’Or favorite has now scored 31 qualifying goals, surpassing Luis Suarez’s previous record of 29.

Lionel Messi says the current Argentina team could be the best of all-time after scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Peru to become the top scorer in South American World Cup qualifying history.

Messi, who is one of the favourites for the 2023 Ballon d’Or, scored his 30th and 31st goals World Cup qualifying goals to move past Luis Suarez’s previous record of 29.

The 36-year-old netted the first with a brilliant first-time finish from Nicolas Gonzalez’s pass in the 32nd minute.

He made it 2-0 when he capped off a fine team move by firing home before half-time.
The win is the fourth in a row for world champions Argentina in qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

“This team is incredible, every time they play they are very close to being the best in history,” said Messi.

“On a game level, I think we have grown. After winning the World Cup we are confident, very loose, more united and firm. Hopefully, we can continue to grow.”

Messi came close to scoring a hat-trick in the second half when he had a goal ruled out for offside following a VAR review.

“The team has understood Messi for a long time, it benefits him and he feels comfortable,” said Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni.
“I hope he plays as much as he can because everyone is happy to see him on the pitch.”

Messi has previously said that he is planning to retire before the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in United States, Canada and Mexico.
Brazil are third in South American qualifying after losing 2-0 to Uruguay.

Neymar was forced to leave the game on a stretcher after suffering an apparent knee injury.

Messi: Argentina may surpass Maradona era

The injury happened late in the first half, shortly after Darwin Nunez had given Uruguay the lead.

Neymar received treatment for several minutes and was then taken off and was set to undergo further tests.

“Let’s hope it’s nothing serious,” Brazil captain Casemiro told television.

“He’s an important player for us, we’re very fond of him. He’s been suffering a lot from injuries and when he starts to pick up the pace he gets injured again.”

Brazil suffered their first World Cup qualifying defeat since 2015, ending a 37-game unbeaten run, and failed to register a single shot on target in the match.

Lionel Messi scored twice to help Argentina beat Peru 2-0 away from home and set a new record for the all-time top scorer in a World Cup qualifier in South America. The 2023 Ballon d’Or favorite has now scored 31 qualifying goals, surpassing Luis Suarez’s previous record of 29. Lionel Messi says the current Argentina…

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