Lionel Messi surpasses legend, becomes Argentina's top scorer at World Cup

Argentina v Croatia: Semi Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Argentina v Croatia: Semi Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

It's been a decade and a half since Lionel Messi started his World Cup goalscoring run back in 2006, but the Argentina international and all-time-record holder scored his 11th World Cup goal on Tuesday to become Argentina's top scorer in World Cup games.

Messi played in his first World Cup back in the summer of 2006 and he already found the net in Argentina's 6-0 win over Serbia. That was just a brief introduction to what was ahead of us to enjoy coming from La Pulga.

Between that first goal and joining PSG in 2021, Messi went on to score five more goals throughout the 2018 edition of the World Cup, entirely missing on hitting the scoreboard in the 2010 tournament.

Messi entered the 2022 World Cup sitting at a measly six-goal count without a single goal scored in the knockout stages of the competition. How things have changed since mid-November.

After scoring once in all games of this World Cup, Messi is now the all-time Argentina leading goalscorer in the biggest of all tournaments with 11 goals and one more game to go in his World Cup career.

Lionel Messi has scored one goal in each of the 2022 World Cup games on his way to becoming Argentina's top goalscorer

Messi surpassed the legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta, who scored 10 goals between 1994 and 2002 in his 12 matches in the competition.

While Messi has needed the most games (25) to reach his record-setting mark, the truth is that the number of apps he's racked up over the years also makes for an all-time record (tied for now but poised to make it 26 next Sunday).

Often mentioned in the GOAT conversation along with Pele and Maradona, Messi is starting to put too much stuff together so as to not consider the 35-year-old on a tier of his own when it comes to all-time greats.

Messi has scored 11 World Cup goals to Maradona's 8 and he is just one shy of Pele's 12. He leads the games-played leaderboard. He has also captained his nation more times (18) than anyone had before (Mexico's Rafa Marquez, 17).

The Argentine genius is also the only player in the history of the World Cup to have been involved in 20 goals (11 scored, 9 assisted) through his world-leading 25 appearances in the competition to date.

Next. Lionel Messi advances to World Cup final, will break all-time record on Sunday. dark

Most importantly, Messi can add the Jules Rimet trophy to his cabinet as soon as next Sunday. The last obstacle in Messi's road will be either France (Argentina is 2-1 overall in games against the French since Messi's debut with the national first team) or Morocco (1-0).