Argentine star Lionel Messi became the top international goal scorer in South American history on Thursday, overtaking Brazil legend Pele after Argentina's 3-0 win against Bolivia in the World Cup qualifying match in Buenos Aires.

According to Sports Illustrated, the 34-year-old scored all three goals in Argentina's 3-0 win over Bolivia, giving him two more than Pele, who had 77 career goals in international play.

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Lionel Messi now has 79 career goals in international play, passing Pele for the most international goals by a South American.

Messi displayed his offensive prowess in the win against Bolivia in the World Cup qualifying match, finishing the game with a hat trick in the 88th minute from close range after getting a rebound from Bolivia's goalkeeper Carlos Lampe.

The first goal of Messi came at the 14th minute. Lionel Messi moved the ball between a Bolivian defender's legs and shot from outside the box to the right of Lampe.

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Lionel Messi Surpasses Brazilian Legend Pele

The second goal of the Argentinian striker came at the 64th minute of the match. Lionel Messi, alongside striker Lautaro Martinez, dazzled the Bolivian defenders with a quick exchange of passes to infiltrate the interior defense of Bolivia. Messi even had time to dribble past one defender before he netted his second goal of the match.

After getting a rebound from Lampe, Messi found himself at the close range. He capitalized on the situation and completed his hat trick at the 88th minute.

The goals in front of about 20,000 fans at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires were like art pieces by the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

The Argentine star celebrated by lifting the Copa America trophy in front of his home fans. Fans savored the moment since they were already allowed to attend the games after a 20-month pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I waited a lot of time for this, I sought this, I dreamed about this, It is a single moment because of the way it happened, after so much wait," Lionel Messi said.

Messi also said there's no better moment than celebrating the win and the achievement with his family.

Despite having a troubled relationship with the Argentinian national team after a series of defeats in the international scenes, World Cups and Copa Americas, he still led the team to the continental title against Brazil in July, which was his first major title with the Argentinian football team. Before their win in July, Argentina experienced a 28-year title drought.

Lionel Messi scored his 79th goal while playing for Argentina's national team in 153 official matches, while Pele netted his 77 in 92 caps while playing for Brazil.

Meanwhile, the three-time World Cup winner and the former record holder, Pele, is currently in the hospital due to the needed surgery for a tumor on his colon.

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Written By: Jess Smith

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