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Lionel Messi celebrates against Bolivia
Lionel Messi celebrates against Bolivia

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi created more history, surpassing Pele as the all-time leading goalscorer for a South American nation on Thursday.

Messi scored a hat-trick for Argentina in their World Cup qualifier against Bolivia, breaking the record held by Brazil great Pele.

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi had moved level with Pele with his opening goal of the match on Thursday before his second sent him clear in the record books.

He then rounded off the occasion by completing his seventh hat-trick for Argentina.

Messi produced a moment of magic in the 14th minute, playing the ball through his opponent's legs before curling a shot past the goalkeeper in Buenos Aires, where the 34-year-old then made history in the 64th minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

He then pounced on a rebound late in the day to make it 3-0, moving on to 79 international goals.

Next on the list of leading CONMEBOL scorers after Messi is Pele (77), then Uruguay's Luis Suarez (64), followed by Chile forward Alexis Sanchez (46) and Peru star Paolo Guerrero (38).

It is not the first time Messi has eclipsed Pele, having surpassed the Santos icon with the most goals for an individual club with his 644th in Barcelona colours in December.

It comes after Messi guided Argentina to Copa America glory in July, ending the country's 28-year wait for silverware with his first senior international crown.

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Lionel MessiArgentina

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