Ballon d’Or 2019 headliner and Argentina forward, Lionel Messi, bagged his first strike in his first appearance since July in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Brazil in a FIFA international friendly encounter in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
The Barcelona maestro had a penalty saved by Alisson but scored the rebound for his 69th international career goal. This places Messi just 29 goals behind arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who is also up for the Ballon d’Or – in terms of international goals in their on-going goal-scoring race.
Messi was returning from a three-month ban for rash comments made during the 2019 Copa América, in which he alleged the tournament was ‘fixed for Brazil’ after the hosts beat Argentina in the semi-final, before going on to win the continental showpiece after downing Peru 3-1 in the final in July.
Argentina are due to face Uruguay in Tel Aviv on Monday but the game threatens to be cancelled due to on-going fights in Israel. Brazil have failed to win in any of their five games since lifting the Copa América and will play South Korea in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, in their last game before the 2022 World Cup qualifiers begin in March.