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Can Lionel Messi catch Cristiano Ronaldo’s international goals record?

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Argentina beat Ecuador 1-0 in the first of two pre-tournament friendlies this summer, a goal from Angel Di Maria securing a narrow win.

Lionel Messi featured off the bench for La Albiceleste, playing for 40 minutes at Soldier Field. The 36-year-old played as a central attacker for much of his time on the field but did not have any major impact on the game, allowing himself to ease into this summer’s Copa América action.

Messi did not improve on his international tally of 106 goals but few would bet against him overtaking Ali Daei (108 goals) in the all-time rankings. Beyond the iconic Iranian is only Cristiano Ronaldo, but CR7 stands a long way ahead of the rest.

Ronaldo has scored 128 international goals, 22 more than Messi, and remains an active Portugal player. Messi will turn 37 next month and looks unlikely to reach Ronaldo’s incredible tally, even if he continues to play deep into his late 30s.

When will Lionel Messi retire from international soccer?

Argentina’s summer schedule begins with friendly games against Ecuador and Guatemala, two teams that the world champions would have hoped to beat. Lionel Scaloni’s team are on a terrific run of form, having won all but one game since lifting the World Cup 18 months ago.

Lionel Messi is looking to lead his team to a third consecutive major tournament triumph, an achievement that would mark them out as one of the finest international sides ever seen. If Argentina progress deep in Copa América their captain will turn 37 during the tournament in what could be his final chance to lift another international trophy with La Albiceleste. But despite his advancing age Messi has refused to rule out the prospect of representing his nation at the World Cup in 2026.

“There is still a long time until the tournament, but it goes quickly. I don’t know how I will be in that moment and if I feel I will be at the level to help my team-mates,” Messi explained. “It depends on how I feel, how I am physically and knowing whether I’m at the level to be able to compete and help my team-mates.”

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