By: Gyang Dakwo
Lionel Messi scored in the 1,000th game of his remarkable career on Saturday to give Argentina the lead in their World Cup last 16 clashes with Australia as he seeks the only major trophy to elude him.
The 35-year-old is Argentina’s all-time top scorer, with 94 goals, and was making his 169th appearance for his nation.
He curled a shot past keeper Mat Ryan in the 35th minute, marking his first goal in a World Cup knockout match, his third in Qatar so far, and taking his total at the global tournament to nine, one more than former Argentina great Diego Maradona.
Julian Alvarez doubled Argentina’s lead in the 57th minute.
Messi joined Barcelona’s youth set-up at 13, becoming their top scorer also, with 672 goals in 778 games, before moving to Paris St Germain last year.
In total, he has scored 789 career goals.
Messi is playing at his fifth World Cup and has said it will be his last, making it all the more important for him to win the trophy if he is to match the legacy of Maradona, his great predecessor in the No. 10 shirt.