Chinese fans cheer for Messi! Argent’s ’79-second lightning strike’ is world’s fastest ever as Argentina beat Australia 2-0

Lionel Messi, 35, broke his own record for the fastest goal in an A-match to lead Argentina to victory.

Messi’s 79th-second strike gave Argentina a 2-0 victory over Australia in a friendly at the Gongren Stadium in Beijing, China, on Friday (Sept. 15). It was another victory for Argentina, who beat Australia 2-1 in the round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar last December. Messi scored the game-winning goal in the 35th minute.

The Argentina national soccer team will next travel to Jakarta, Indonesia, to face Indonesia on Sept. 19.

On the day, Messi took a pass from Enzo Fernandez (Chelsea) and rattled the net with a thunderous left-footed mid-range shot from near the arc circle. The scoreboard clock read 79 seconds. It was Messi’s fastest goal in an A-match. After taking control of the match, Argentina added a second goal in the 23rd minute on a header by Hermann Pessela (Real Betis) to seal the victory.

Messi and the rest of the Argentine team stood out as they wore jerseys with their names in Chinese. The Chinese fans’ love for Messi was palpable. They chanted his name throughout the game, and every time he touched the ball, the stadium erupted in cheers. There was one incident where a male fan wearing a Messi jersey ran onto the field and hugged Messi. As he ran onto the field, he was grabbed by security and taken off the field.

The goal extended Messi’s scoring streak to seven consecutive A-Match matches, dating back to the Round of 16 match against Australia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He took his tally to 103 goals in A matches. Messi, who made his debut for Argentina in 2005 at the age of 18, has been with the national team for 19 years and has made 안전놀이터 175 appearances in A-matches. He has been particularly impressive at World Cups. He played in five consecutive tournaments, from Germany 2006 to Qatar 2022, totaling 13 goals and eight assists. At the 2023 tournament in Qatar, he led Argentina to their only World Cup trophy in 36 years, since the 1986 tournament in Mexico with Diego Maradona.

Messi recently made headlines when he announced in Chinese media that he will miss the upcoming 2026 World Cup in North and Central America. “The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was my last World Cup,” he said to ‘Titan Sports’ on March 13, adding, “We’ll see what happens, but for now, I’m not going to play in the next World Cup.” Born in 1987, Messi is currently 35 years old. He will be 39 in 2026 when the World Cup is held. It remains to be seen if he’ll still be playing in 2026, when he’ll be in his twilight years as a soccer player. For now, it looks like he’ll stick around until next year’s Copa America in the United States.

Meanwhile, Messi, whose contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) ends at the end of the month, recently confirmed his move to Inter Miami in the American Major League Soccer (MLS). He was considering a return to his hometown club Barcelona and a big-money move to the Saudi Arabian league, but opted for the David Beckham-owned club. “If I wanted money, I would have gone to Saudi Arabia,” Messi said of his decision to play in the United States. It’s true that I was looking forward to returning to Barcelona. But I didn’t want Barcelona players to go to other teams or take a pay cut because of me.”

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