Lionel Messi (36, Paris Saint-Germain) was shedding tears of joy on the ground amidst the roaring sound of fireworks and the cheers of 80,000 spectators covering the black night.
This is the scene of the A-match evaluation match between Argentina and Panama held at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 24th (Korean time). The match was the first official match for the Argentine national team after Qatar won the World Cup in 36 years last December. Before the game, Argentine spectators sang along with the national anthem in unison and were thrilled once again, and Messi and other players were also moved to tears by their warm welcome. 안전놀이터
It was the perfect homecoming match. Argentina, ranked second in the FIFA rankings, beat Panama, ranked 61st, 2-0 with Thiago Almada’s (Atlanta) opening goal in the 33rd minute of the second half and Messi’s extra goal from a free kick in the 44th minute of the second half.
Qatar World Cup Golden Ball (MVP) Messi hit the post twice with only free kicks before scoring. Once in the first half and once in the second half. Almada pushed the ball that came out of the second goal. Messi’s last left-footed free kick was not taken too far into the corner. The ball, which floated high and crossed the defensive wall, fell and split the net.
With this goal, Messi has reached 800 goals in his career. 99 goals in A matches, 672 goals with Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Liga, and 29 goals with Paris in the French Ligue 1.
Messi, who took the microphone after the match, said, “I have always dreamed of this moment. He said, “This moment of returning to the homeland with the World Cup trophy,” he said. They deserve applause, too.”
Messi may soon receive a warm welcome in his second home, Barcelona. Messi, who moved to Paris from Barcelona in the summer of 2021, has a two-year contract expiring this summer. There is an option for a one-year extension, but it must be agreed with the player, and local media, including the UK, observe that Messi is focusing on returning to Barcelona. Messi played 778 matches for Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo (38, Al Nasr) of Portugal scored two goals from a penalty kick and a free kick in the first leg of the 2024 European Football Championship (Euro 2024) qualifying home match against Liechtenstein in Lisbon. Ronaldo, who recorded the most appearances (197) in A-match history, surpassing Bader Al-Mutawa (Kuwait)’s 196 matches, increased his own record for most goals in A-match to 120. The second place in this category is Iran’s Ali Daei (109 goals). In December 2021, Ronaldo stepped on the 800th goal in his career, which Messi stepped on that day.
Harry Kane (30, Tottenham) stood tall as the all-time top scorer for the England national team. In Euro 2024, in the first game away to Italy (2-1 win), Kane scored his 54th goal in A match with a penalty kick. Of his 54 goals, 18 were from penalty kicks. He surpassed Wayne Rooney (53 goals) to become England’s all-time leading goalscorer.