Argentine great Lionel Messi scored a brilliant free-kick against Ecuador, to help Argentina record a slim victory in the CONMEBOL qualifying series-opening encounter for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Messi, was on target for the World Champions, extending his goal tally to 104 goals in 176 appearances for Argentina.
Lionel Messi equals David Beckham’s free-kick goals record
Messi’s decisive free-kick goal against Ecuador, also made him equal the tally of Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham, who scored 65 free-kick goals during his career.
It was his 5th free-kick goal in 2023, and his 11th for Argentina, since he made his debut for the La Albiceleste on August 17, 2005.
Lionel Messi has always had that outstanding instinct with such kicks, as he dispatches them with class and brilliance.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, Messi continues to eschew magic on the big stage.
Supporters can’t stop loving every bit of his brilliance, and they must be thankful that they can still witness his monstrous qualities on the biggest stage.
He finally checked the seemingly exclusive title internationally on his bucket list, guiding Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup title in Qatar.
However, he isn’t finished yet, as he is conquering new territories, with him now representing American side Inter Miami.
Lionel Messi’s first goal for Inter Miami was also a free-kick, as he scored a stoppage-time winner on July 22, 2023, to hand Tarta Martino’s side a 2-1 win over Cruz Azul.
He has followed that up with 10 more goals, which has seen Inter Miami go unbeaten in 11 matches across all competitions since his arrival.
Messi was instrumental to Inter Miami’s 3-1 victory over Los Angeles FC, securing a brace of assists in the encounter.
He is expected to feature in Argentina’s upcoming World Cup qualification encounter against Bolivia, despite being substituted against Ecuador.
Following Lionel Messi’s free-kick goal against the Ecuadorians, he was substituted 11 minutes later.
Is Lionel Messi injured?
Fans were worried about the reason for his substitution from the game, but Lionel Scaloni has clarified that it was due to the request of the veteran forward.
Messi also confirmed that he asked to be substituted, as a result of tiredness but he revealed that he is fine and not injured as many feared.
If he is fit and out of his tired state, his supporters will be backing him to produce another masterclass against Bolivia on September 12, 2023.
Barring any injuries, he will return to club action on Sunday, September 10, 2023, in a Major League Soccer clash against Sporting Kansas City.
Top 10 players who’ve scored the most free-kicks in football:
10) Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Al Nassr) – 60
10) Ronaldo Koeman (Retired) – 60
8) Zico (Retired) – 62
8) Diego Maradona (Retired/Late) – 62
6) Lionel Messi (Argentina/Inter Miami) – 65
6) David Beckham (Retired) – 65
4) Nicola Legrottaglie (Retired) – 66
4) Ronaldinho Gaucho (Retired) – 66
2) Pele (Retired/Late) – 70
1) Juninho Pernambucanho (Retired) – 77