Messi hat-trick inspires Argentina in rout


The 30-year-old scored thrice for Argentina in the worldwide friendly encounter with Haiti on May 30, as the team secured a 4-0 win over the minnows.

The five-time Ballon d'Or victor then set up substitute and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero with 21 minutes remaining at La Bombonera, where Haiti did not register a shot.

Lionel Messi will be acutely aware that this is nearly certainly his final World Cup at his peak.

He broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 17th minute and then completed the sixth hat-trick of his global career in the second half with goals in the 58th and 66th minutes.

La Albiceleste almost missed out on a place in next month's World Cup but for the exploits of the pint-sized magician, as his brilliant hat-trick against Ecuador last October helped guide the nation to Russian Federation, after it looked certain that Jorge Sampaoli's men would fail to qualify.

But he "would swap any one of those titles with Barcelona" for a World Cup win.

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Messi repeated that he dreams not only of playing for Argentina but in Argentina, preferably for his boyhood club Newell's Old Boys.

There were two different classes of teams on the field Tuesday, as Argentina controlled the pace, created a number of golden opportunities beyond the four goals and kept Haiti away from goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

Argentina now fly to Barcelona to prepare for World Cup group matches against Iceland on 16 June, Croatia on 21 June and Nigeria on 26 June. "We have impressive players, but we have to be humble". "But we do not have to throw the message of "we are going to be the world champions because we are the best", because the reality is that it is not like that". "We had a complicated time in the qualifiers, but we are training well".

"We have to win against Iceland and that will give us calmness for the rest of the group matches".

"We are going with a great squad that is becoming strong at the team and individual level".

Despite this, Messi has acknowledged he would have already won football's most prestigious accolade in a World Cup medal if he chose to represent the country he grew up in during his teenage years. "We are facing a attractive possibility and we are looking for that".