WATCH: Lionel Messi breaks down after his first match in Argentina post Copa America success; breaks Pele’s record with hat-trick

Taking his overall international hat-trick tally to 7, Messi went also went past Brazilian legend Pele in the list of goalscorers in the continent as he netted goal number 78 for Argentina.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 10 September 2021 11:05 am

One of the greatest footballers to have ever played the game Lionel Messi proved his sheer class and genius once again with a superb hat-trick for Argentina against Bolivia. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner had earlier brought the Copa America Trophy home and shared the success with his fans. The support that Leo received post the Copa America win has been nothing short of overwhelming.

However, after Argentina's FIFA World Cup qualifier against Brazil was dramatically suspended, he was on the pitch again with his Argentinian teammates and was on the verge of yet another record in his illustrious career. The superstar footballer scored a sensational hat-trick during the match against Bolivia to become the leading men's goalscorer in the history of South American football.

Taking his overall international hat-trick tally to 7, Messi also went past Brazilian legend Pele in the list of goalscorers in the continent as he netted goal number 78 for Argentina. Pele had scored 77 goals for Selecao.

Despite the record, Messi is still behind Brazil greats Marta (109) and Cristiane (96) on the list of top-goal scoring players when one views both the men's and women's records from South America. While interacting with the media after the match, Messi was seen shedding a few tears of joy as he admitted to being overwhelmed as he got the opportunity to share the Copa America success at home which brought an end to the wait for an international trophy.

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"I dreamed about this. Finally, it's been given to me. After so much waiting. There is no better place to celebrate it than here. My mother and brothers are here tonight, they suffered a lot and today they celebrate. I am so happy," he said after the match as fans continued to chant his name in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires.

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Notably, Argentina had defeated arch-rivals Brazil in Copa America 2021 final in July but Messi could not celebrate the success with fans. Moreover, even his family wasn't allowed at the stadium. On Thursday, he played his first match in Argentina after that memorable win and couldn't hold back his tears. The new Paris Saint-Germain forward is already Argentina's leading goalscorer in international football after he went past the likes of Gabriel Batistuta (54 goals) in 2016. Earlier, Messi had also become Argentina's most capped player and currently has 153 caps for the national team.

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