Messi equals Maradona FIFA World Cup goal tally after strike against Mexico

Lionel Messi got level with Diego Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring a stunning goal against Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

Lionel Messi of Argentina scores their team’s first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at Lusail Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

Lionel Messi of Argentina scores their team’s first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C match between Argentina and Mexico at Lusail Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lionel Messi got level with Diego Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring a stunning goal against Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

Lionel Messi got level with Diego Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring a stunning goal against Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar.

After a dull first-half in Argentina’s second group stage match, Messi struck a magical hit from outside the box to beat Gulliermo Ochoa as his team finally beat the deadlock with his stunning hit.

With the goal, the 35-year-old took his goal tally to eight, going level with the two-time World Cup winner Maradona and his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo, who also got to that feat, in this edition of the World Cup, in Qatar 2022.

He continues to be the talisman on the field, with an assist for substitute Enzo Fernandez as Argentina went 2-0 in the last three minutes of regulation time.

Messi also became the youngest (18y 357d vs Serbia in 2006) and the oldest (35y 155d vs Mexico today) player to both score and assist in a single World Cup game since the start of the 1966 tournament. 

The goal was a huge relief for Argentina, as it increased its chances to qualify for the FIFA World Cup round of 16, after a shock loss to Saudi Arabia in its opening fixture.

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Earlier, Messi got level with his country’s legend on another aspect, equalling the record as the Argentine with most World Cup appearances.

Both Messi and Maradona now have 21 World Cup appearances. The landmark comes a day after the death anniversary of Diego, when the one-time World Cup winner passed away two years ago, on November 25, 2022.

The Paris Saint-Germain surpassed the record of former Barcelona and Argentina teammate Javier Mascherano, who was previously second with 20 appearances on biggest stage of international football.

Having started his senior career in 2005, Lionel Messi has gone on to already become the Argentina player with most caps (167) and goals (93). However, one dream that still unfulfilled for the Paris Saint-Germain forward is winning the World Cup, something Maradona did once, in 1986.

Wearing the No. 10 jersey, similar to the one Maradona used to wear, it will be interesting to see if he can rescue Argentina’s hopes of making a comeback in the FIFA World Cup 2022, after a shock loss to Saudi Arabia in its World Cup opener.

Argentina secured its first win with Messi being the heart of attacks and will hope the forward continues to fire its las group stage match, against Poland at the Stadium 974 on December 1.

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