KEY POINTS

  • Lionel Messi scored in Argentina's 1-1 draw vs Chile
  • It was Messi's 57th free-kick in his professional career
  • He is the current captain of the Argentina national team

Lionel Messi surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo in an elite record in professional soccer with a screamer goal during the Copa America 2021 match between Argentina and Chile on Monday.

Messi converted a free-kick into a goal in Argentina’s 1-1 draw against Chile and took his tally of free-kicks to 57, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo. While Messi has 50 free kicks for FC Barcelona and seven for Argentina, Ronaldo has 13 free kicks with Manchester United, 32 with Real Madrid and 10 with Portugal, according to Spanish publication Marca.

Until 2017, Messi’s tally of free-kicks was only 31, while his arch-rival Ronaldo was ahead in the race with49 free kicks to his name. In a span of four years, Messi has overtaken the Juventus forward, showing his dominance and consistency over the years, for both club and country.

Moreover, Diego Maradona with 62 free kicks holds the record for the most number of free kicks among Argentina players. Following Messi’s strike against Chile Monday, Messi is five goals away from matching the later player’s record.

It was also Messi’s only third free-kick in Copa America. His two previous strikes came against Panama and the United States, both in the 2016 tournament, according to Copa America’s official website.

Messi’s free-kick against Chile was also his first non-penalty goal for Argentina in a competitive game since the 2018 FIFA World Cup match against Nigeria, while it was also his first direct free-kick goal for Argentina since the game against Colombia in 2016.

Argentina rode into the half-time break with a 1-0 lead at Estadio Nilton Santos stadium before Chile forward Eduardo Vargas netted a 57th-minute equalizer.

Forwards Lautaro Martínez and Nicolás González missed early chances as Argentina were off to a great start against the defending champions Chile Monday. When Argentina were handed a free-kick after 33 minutes of the kickoff, Messi curled it with ease past the Chilean goalkeeper from 25 yards away.

Speaking in a post-match interview after the 1-1 draw against Chile, Messi said, "The game was complicated. We lacked calmness, having control of the ball and playing faster. The penalty changed the game. We wanted to start winning. Now we have Uruguay, which is also going to be difficult. But hey, we have to think about the next match now."

Lionel Messi will lead Argentina as the six-time Ballon d'Or winner aims to finally break his trophy drought in top level international competition Lionel Messi will lead Argentina as the six-time Ballon d'Or winner aims to finally break his trophy drought in top level international competition Photo: AFP / Raul ARBOLEDA

Argentina will next take on Uruguay in the underway Copa America in Brazil on Saturday, while Chile will face Bolivia Friday.