Lionel Messiscored the 800th goal of his career in stunning fashion as Argentina beat Panama 2-0 in Buenos Aires.
Argentina were playing their first match since winning the World Cup and marked it in style.
Before the game, there were quite incredible scenes as Argentina continued to celebrate their triumph in Qatar.
When the match eventually kicked off, the home side had to wait until the 79th minute to open the scoring.
Lionel Scaloni had actually started with the same XI that started the World Cup final against France in December.
When they eventually broke the deadlock it came through Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada, who scored his first international goal as he scored a rebound from Messi’s free kick that had hit the post.
But then it was time for Messi to take centre stage.
The occasion wouldn’t have been complete with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner crowning it with a piece of pure magic.
And he did so with a quite beautiful free kick.
In the 89th minute, Messi lined up a free kick from 25 yards and curled it delightfully over the wall into the top corner.
VIDEO: Messi scores his 800th career goal with free kick
Messi scores his 800th goal with this wonderful free kick. 🐐
— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) March 24, 2023
LIONEL MESSI’S FREE KICK GOAL FOR ARGENTINA! Via @TV_Publica. 🐐🇦🇷pic.twitter.com/zZb836PEZF
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 24, 2023
The night was complete and Messi had just scored the 800th goal of an incredible career.
It was Messi’s 99th strike for Argentina, with 701 coming at club level.
Messi will have the opportunity to score his 100th international goal when Argentina face Curacao on Tuesday in another friendly.
What did Messi say to fans after the match?
After the match, Messi gave a speech to the adoring fans.
He said: “I want to thank all of you for the affection we have been receiving. Not only for being world champions but also for the Copa America. We had said that we were going to do everything we could for this.
“Personally, I have always dreamed of this moment. To be able to celebrate with you, to come to my country, to Argentina, to lift a Copa America, the Finalissima and the greatest one, which is the World Cup.
“Today is our day, where we are celebrating the champions, but I don’t want to forget all the teammates who were there before, who also did their best to win the cup. Who also did their best to achieve this and we were very close to the Copa America and the World Cup. They deserve all the recognition of the Argentine people because they also gave their all for this shirt.
“I’d like to thank all my previous coaches who also tried everything possible for this. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
“Hopefully it won’t take so many years. It has been shown that it is very difficult to win the World Cup. It depends on many things, not only on a great group and a great team and sometimes it’s not possible to win it because of details. So let’s enjoy the third start.”