Lionel Messi hardly played more than 35 minutes. But that was enough to turn heads in Argentina’s friendly against Jamaica in New Jersey, USA. Within three minutes, the Argentinian captain scored two goals and increased several things: the Argentinian lead (final score 3-0) and also two personal bests: the Paris Saint-Germain striker is now Argentina’s record scorer with 90 goals and the only player from the South American country to have 100 wins in the national jersey. Which means nothing other than that Argentina dreams of the third world title after 1978 and 1986 more intensely than ever before.
Messi, 35, is still missing this title, but it still triggers madness. When the game was over, various fans jumped onto the pitch to take a selfie with him, to touch him, to hug him. That didn’t go quite as well as security was as uncompromising as Jamaica’s tough defender Javain Brown.
A fan who managed to put a felt-tip pen in Messi’s hand was particularly unlucky. He wanted to have an autograph on his back and then have it immortalized as a tattoo. But: Just after Messi had painted the “L” of his first name, security agents tore the autograph hunter to the ground. National coach Lionel Scaloni, 44, does not threaten such a thing. Association boss Claudio Tapia announced that an agreement had been reached with Scaloni to continue working together until 2026.
This is anything but surprising. Argentina went 35 games unbeaten under Scaloni. Just as outstanding are the Brazilians, who won a friendly in Paris against World Cup participants Tunisia 5-1 on Tuesday. The goals were scored by the outstanding Raphinha (11’/40′), Richarlison (19′), Neymar (29′) and Pedro (74′). Brazil has suffered just three defeats in 50 games since the 2018 World Cup, including two against Argentina.
A racially motivated incident caused a stir. Richarlison was pelted with a banana after scoring. In addition, the game was interrupted due to continued laser attacks against Neymar. “It’s a shame. It’s hard to take such impressions,” said Brazil captain Thiago Silva.