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Messi scores landmark treble as World champions annihilate Curaçao

Argentine legend becomes third player in history to score 100 international goals

Lionel Messi was the centre of attraction for Argentina as they strolled to a 7-0 win over minnows Curaçao in the second of their celebratory friendlies. The PSG star scored a hat-trick for La Albiceleste, adding an assist to cap off a stunning display.

On the back of a stunning free-kick goal against Panama, Messi was handed the baton of football at a ceremony by the CONMEBOL president for his performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He led a full-strength Argentina side out against Curaçao for the encounter.

Argentina were clearly a number of levels above their opponents, and within two minutes they showed why as Messi teed up Lautaro Martinez, only for the Inter Milan striker to miss the chance from point-blank range.

The captain took matters into his own hands and opened the scoring for his side with his 100th international goal in the 20th minute. Receiving a pass from Giovanni Lo Celso, he jinked past a defender in the box before firing his effort into the back of the net.

Only three minutes later, La Albiceleste doubled their lead through Fiorentina winger Nico Gonzalez, who rose highest to head past the goalkeeper after a loose ball went up in the air.

Messi scored his second of the night in the 33rd minute after receiving a pass from Gonzalez, putting his side three goals ahead. The captain then turned provider two minutes later for Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who rifled a brilliant shot into the top corner from outside the box.

Messi completed the 57th hat-trick of his career in the 37th minute after he latched onto a ball over the top from Lo Celso before calmly slotting past the goalkeeper. He took his international tally to 102 goals in 174 appearances for Argentina.

The world champions slowed down in the second half as Curaçao goalkeeper Eloy Room helped keep the score respectable for his side. There was, however, nothing he could do in the 78th minute as Angel Di Maria fired a penalty past him to net his side’s sixth.

Like in the World Cup final against France, Sevilla defender Gonzalo Montiel had the final say in the game, slamming home an effort from inside the box after a low cross from Paulo Dybala in the 87th minute.

Argentina rounded off their international break with a 7-0 win to make it two wins from two, while Messi joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Ali Daei as the only players to score 100 international goals.

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