Lionel Messi scored the 800th goal of his distinguished career and once again lifted the World Cup trophy in Buenos Aires, telling all of Argentina to enjoy this football prosperity while it lasts.
His landmark kick came in a 2-0 friendly victory over Panama on Thursday at El Monumental as Argentina played their first game since winning Qatar 2022.
They showed off their World Cup trophies after the final whistle, with Messi addressing the crowd and saying that this was the moment he had dreamed of all his life.
Messi, who turns 36 in June, delivered another inspiring performance for his country by hitting the crossbar with two free kicks before sending another into the top corner in the 89th minute.
This added 800 points for club and country and sealed Argentina’s victory after Thiago Almada scored the first goal in the 78th minute. It was also Messi’s 99th goal for Argentina.
With a microphone in his right hand and resting his left on the trophy, Messi told the crowd: “I want to thank you for all the love we receive, not only for winning the World Cup, but before when we won the Copa America.
“I have always dreamed of this moment when I can celebrate with you in this country. Let’s enjoy it because we spent a lot of time to win it and because you don’t know how long it will take until we win it again. Let’s enjoy the third star.”
The former Barcelona star from Paris Saint-Germain won the Ballon d’Or at the World Cup for his efforts to lead Argentina to glory. This is a trophy awarded to the player of the tournament.
Argentina had won the World Cup earlier in 1978 and 1986 and the 36-year wait came to an end when Albiceleste beat France on penalties in the final on 18 December after a 3-3 draw.
#SelectionMajor Lionel Messi: “Primero que nada, darles las gracias a todos por el cariño que venimos recibiendo. Hace tiempo decimos que íbamos a hacer todo lo posible por ganar un Mundial.” pic.twitter.com/Ufo1GayjTO
— Selection Argentina (@Argentina) March 24, 2023
Messi will almost certainly be out of the national team by the time the next World Cup starts in 2026, marking the end of a storied era.
He sought to spread the latest recognition among the Argentines.
“I know that today is our day, but I don’t want to forget all those colleagues that I had before, who also did their best to get this one, and unfortunately this did not happen to us, we were very close” , He said. “They also deserve respect and recognition.
“We were going to do everything we could for this. I have always dreamed of this moment when I can come to my country and raise the World Cup. It has been shown that this is very difficult to achieve, it depends on many things. Sometimes it’s the little details that elude you.”