Messi scored the only goal of the game as Argentina defeated Ecuador in their first match for the World Cup qualifiers for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
That was his 71st goal for his nation, which brings him to within six goals of Brazilian legend Pele – who is the all-time top scorer for a South American nation.
Messi already stands alone in second place having surpassed Ronaldo Nazario’s total of 62 international goals quite some time ago.
The superstar’s two former Blaugrana teammates Neymar and Luis Suarez are fourth and fifth on the list respectively – Neymar is on 61 goals for Brazil while Suarez has netted 60 goals for Uruguay.
As detailed by Diario Sport, Messi is now likely to surpass Pele’s record and he has moved on to 21 goals in World Cup qualifiers, with Suarez currently out on front on that count with 22.