‘Five-star’ Messi overtakes Puskas
Argentina striker Lionel Messi scored five goals in a 5-0 friendly win over Estonia on Sunday, a result which helped him overtake Hungary's great Ferenc Puskas among the all-time international top scorers.
The former Barcelona player got to shine once more on Spanish soil in a match played at the El Sadar stadium in the northern city of Pamplona, 430 kilometres from what for 21 years he called home.
The Argentina captain caught up and left behind the former Hungary and -- on four occasions -- Spain forward, who scored 84 goals in 89 games.
Messi is now three goals behind former Malaysia forward Mokhtar Dahari, in third. Iran's Ali Daei (109) is second, while Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo remains first with 117 goals.
The Paris St Germain forward also became the first player to have netted five times in both a single European Cup or Champions League clash and in an international match on a senior level.
He previously found the back of the net five times 10 years ago, when Barcelona hammered Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 in the Champions League last 16 second leg at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Scaloni's side are unbeaten in 33 matches, the last loss a 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2019 Copa America.
Meanwhile, Neymar scored a 77th-minute penalty as Brazil broke down a stubborn Japan 1-0 in Tokyo on Monday to keep their momentum building ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.
The South American heavyweights arrived in Tokyo fresh off a 5-1 thrashing of South Korea in Seoul last week, but Japan proved a tougher nut to crack in front of a full house at the Olympic stadium.
Neymar's goal took him to 74 for his country, just three short of the legendary Pele's all-time record of goals for Brazil.