Madrid, March 24 (IANS) FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi will match the record of his countryman Diego Simeone as Argentina’s fourth most capped player in history when he turns out for his national side on Friday against Chile in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
This will be Messi’s 106th match for Argentina. The 28-year-old superstar continues to break records, and is on course to become the highest-ever goal-scorer for his country, as he is currently just seven goals short of former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta’s record of 56 goals, reports Efe.
Accoridng to Spain’s leading newspaper AS, former player Javier Zanetti is leading the list of the most capped Argentine players with 143 games, followed by Messi’s Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano (122) and Roberto Ayala (115).
Messi, currently the best player in the world, started his international career on August 17, 2005 against Hungary in a friendly match, one year after he refused to play for Spain.
Despite winning 1-0, his first cap does not carry any good memories as the then 19-year-old touched the ball only three times before being sent off just 40 seconds after coming on to the pitch.
Messi has not won any titles with Argentina, despite leading his peers to the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, only to lose against Germany 0-1 in the final. A year later, the same tragedy took place as Argentina lost 0-1 in the final of the 2015 Copa America against Chile.
However, Messi won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland with the Argentina U-20 team, and managed to win the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with Argentina’s U-23 team.