Argentina superstar Lionel Messi put on a show on Saturday night for the nearly 89,000 people in attendance, as well as millions around the world.
The 35-year-old forward helped Argentina beat Mexico with a goal and an assist. It was the seventh consecutive match that the superstar either scored or assisted for his country.
All eyes were on Messi
Entering the massive match against Mexico, Argentina needed to win to remain in the World Cup. Head coach Lionel Scaloni spoke on Friday about the team, and most importantly, Messi, being ready for the fight.
“[Messi’s] feeling well but more than ever we need everyone,” stated Scaloni. “We have no questions over [Messi’s] physical level, and emotionally he’s feeling well so no problems there.”
“Leo is doing well, as our his other teammates,” the coach continued. “We know tomorrow we have an important match and most young players know that everything will be left on the pitch.
Everything depends on us — that’s why we need to give everything on the pitch.”
Superstar shined bright when it counted
While Scaloni needed all of his players to step up on Saturday, stars obviously face more pressure. Messi did not disappoint. The Paris Saint-Germain player opened the scoring on the night in the 64th of the game.
He then collected an assist thanks to a glorious strike from Enzo Fernandez late in the match. The 2-0 victory bumped Argentina up to second in Group C of the standings.
Messi’s goal against Mexico was his eighth World Cup score for Argentina. He is now tied for second-most World Cup goals for the country with the legendary Diego Maradona.
Gabriel Batistuta currently holds Argentina’s World Cup goal record with 10.
Prior to the tournament, Messi declared that this would be his final World Cup appearance. This is essentially the only major trophy that he has failed to collect during his illustrious career.
There is still a long way to go, but the win on Saturday means that Messi can keep the dream alive.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Sipa USA
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