Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring during an international friendly soccer...

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring during an international friendly soccer match against Curacao in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, Tuesday, March 28, 2023. Credit: AP/Nicolas Aguilera

SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO, Argentina — Lionel Messi has surpassed 100 career goals for Argentina with three in the first half of Tuesday's interntaional friendly against Curacao.

The 35-year-old Messi opened the scoring against the Caribbean team in the 20th minute with a right-foot shot from the edge of the box to reach the milestone 100.

He added his 101st for Argentina with a crossed shot to the right of the goalkeeper and 102nd after an easy run to score. Argentina was leading Curacao 5-0 at halftime, with Nico Gonzalez and Enzo Fernandez also putting their names on the scoreboard.

The Argentine captain trails only two players on the list of most goals scored for national teams in official matches; Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, with 122, and Iran’s Ali Daei, with 109.

The friendly in Santiago del Estero is Argentina's second since winning the World Cup title in December. Messi's team beat Panama 2-0 in Buenos Aires last week.

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