Lionel Messi came up big for Argentina again on Saturday night when the going got tough against Mexico, breaking the deadlock and firing Argentina to three points.
It was a historic match for Messi too, beyond what it meant for the path of Argentina’s World Cup. As per Sport, Messi has equalled Argentine icon Diego Maradona for World Cup appearances. Both have 21 appearances at the World Cup to their name, ahead of Javier Mascherano (20) and Mario Kempes (18), and the most for any Argentine player. Should he feature against Poland, as seems likely barring injury, then he will surpass that record.
It was also Messi’s eighth goal at the World Cup. That also equals Maradona’s total and the Argentine record for World Cup goals. In total it was his 97th strike for the Albiceleste in 167 appearances.
The comparisons with Maradona have been part of Messi’s career ever since he scored his incredible solo goal against Getafe in 2007, reminiscent of Maradona’s run against England in the 1986 World Cup. As Messi attempts to lead his national team to glory in the tournament for the first time since Maradona won it, the comparisons will likely colour the entire Argentina tournament.