Lionel Messi Argentina 800 goals Panama 2023Getty

WATCH: Lionel Messi reaches 800 career goals in style with stunning 25-yard free-kick for Argentina

  • All-time great back in action for his country
  • Has hit another individual landmark
  • One effort short of 100 for the Albiceleste

WHAT HAPPENED? The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who continues to see serious questions asked of his future at club level, was back in action for his country on Thursday as the 2022 World Cup winners took in a friendly date with Panama in Buenos Aires. Thiago Almada opened the scoring in a 2-0 win, but it was Messi – in front of a passionate home support – that stole the headlines once more as he reached another personal milestone with a spectacular strike in the 89th minute that curled and dipped into the top corner from the edge of the box.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi was close to tears before kick-off, in what was Argentina’s first outing since claiming a global crown in the Middle East, and took in another lap of honour after a meeting with Panama that saw him hoist the World Cup trophy aloft once more.

WHAT NEXT? The notable landmarks appear set to keep on coming for Messi, who has grown accustomed to rewriting the history books down the years, with the 800th goal of his remarkable career leaving him just one short of reaching 100 for Argentina – with Lionel Scaloni’s side set to be back in action on Tuesday when they face Curacao.