Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni reserved special praise for Lionel Messi after the PSG star produced a man-of-the-match performance against Bolivia on Thursday night.
netted a hat trick to give his side a 3-0 victory over
in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday, surpassing
as South America’s top international scorer with 79 goals.
star broke the deadlock after 14 minutes in Buenos Aires with a curling strike from outside the box.
He grabbed his brace in the 64th minute after working a one-two with
, then completed the hat trick with two minutes left, sending the ball into the back of the net on a rebound from close range.
His 77th, 78th, and 79th goals marked his seventh hat trick for the national side and lifted him two above Pele on the South American scoring charts
hailed the formerBarcelona
striker for continuing to prove decisive for his country following his latest treble.
"I am proud to have him as a player. Messi is leaving a legacy to all the soccer players of the national team,"
Scaloni said at his post-match news conference
"Messi was always a player who made a difference. Before and now. Winning magnified everything, and if before he was already an idol of the people, now it is much more.
"Seeing them excited fills us with joy, but it lasts [only] until this international window is over, because afterwards we have to continue working."
Messi's seventh hat-trick for Argentina helped his country extend their unbeaten run to 22 matches.
DISCLAIMER! Sportmob does not claim ownership of any of the pictures posted on this website. Again, we do not host pictures or videos ourselves. Our authors merely link to the rightful owner. Lastly, Sportmob have carefully considered and reviewed all of its content. Despite that, it is possible that some information might be out-dated or incomplete.