Lionel Messi has added yet another accolade to his legendary career. On Tuesday the Argentinian superstar became the all-time leading scorer in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying during Argentina's 2-0 win over Peru.
Messi scored a first half brace for his side in his first start for club or country since Sept. 20 and with the two goals surpassed his former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez of Uruguay for the honor of highest scoring player in history for World Cup qualifiers in the CONMEBOL region..
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For the first goal, Enzo Fernandez sent the ball to Nicolas Gonzalez on the edge of the penalty area, who then smartly cut back to Messi, who wasted no time taking a shot. His powerful first-time strike cruised into the back of the net in the 32nd minute.
He scored a second just 10 minutes later. Fernandez made a run towards goal and cut it back to Julian Alvarez, who at first appears ready to take the shot, only to dummy it to Messi. The captain then took another forceful shot from the edge of the penalty area to double the lead.
The star now has 31 goals during World Cup qualifying, two more than Suarez's 29. Three of those goals have come during Argentina's campaign to qualify for the 2026 World Cup and the team has been in fine form throughout. The reigning World Cup winners have won the first four games of their qualifying campaign and have yet to concede a goal, even without Messi in the team at times.
Messi started and scored in the opening qualifier against Ecuador on Sept. 7, but he missed a 3-0 win over Bolivia five days later with fatigue. He rejoined last Thursday and played 37 minutes in Argentina's win over Paraguay but started for the first time in nearly a month on Tuesday against the Peruvians.
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What's next for Messi
With Inter Miami missing out on a berth in the MLS Cup playoffs, Messi will head back to the U.S. ahead of their final match of the season on Saturday at Charlotte FC. Messi said after matchTuesday's match that he would return to action in MLS. After that, Miami will embark on a two-match tour of China early next month with matches scheduled against Qingdao Hainiu FC on Nov. 5 and Chengdu Rongcheng on Nov. 8. It is unclear if Messi will take part in these friendlies, especially considering Argentina's upcoming schedule.
Argentina will resume their World Cup qualifying campaign next month against a pair of regional heavyweights -- Uruguay and Brazil. They will host Uruguay on Nov. 16 before traveling to Brazil on Nov. 21.