Argentina captain Lionel Messi on Tuesday scored his 100th international goal for the reigning world champions as they romped to a 7-0 friendly win over outclassed Curacao.
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi opened the scoring against the Caribbean island minnows on 20 minutes in Santiago del Estero.
It came 17 years after he opened his Argentina account in a 3-2 defeat to Croatia in March 2006.
The 35-year-old soon added another just after the half-hour mark to make it 3-0, and then completed his hat-trick on 37 minutes with the fifth as Argentina toyed with their overmatched opponents.
It was his seventh hat-trick for the national team.
Messi came into the game not just as his country’s all-time record goalscorer, but with more goals than the next two top marksmen — Gabriel Batistuta on 56 and Sergio Aguero with 41 — put together.
This was Argentina’s second match since winning the World Cup in dramatic style against France in Qatar in December — triumphing 4-2 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw — and it was always going to be about Messi reaching 100 goals.
He remains third in the all-time list, behind great rival Cristiano Ronaldo (122) of Portugal and Iran’s Ali Daei (109).