Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, in the early hours of Friday, etched his name ever further into the history books of world football.
Messi, for those who may have missed it, was back in action early this morning.
In their qualifying opener for the 2026 World Cup, holders Argentina welcomed Ecuador to Buenos Aires, for a highly-anticipated clash.
And, when all was said and done in a tight contest, it was Messi who proved himself the difference-maker once more.
A little over 10 minutes from time, after the hosts were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal, the veteran attacker took responsibility, bending a sumptuous effort into the bottom corner to seal a 1-0 Argentina win:
And, as alluded to above, in the process, Messi secured for himself yet more football history.
First, in taking his tally to 29 goals, the Inter Miami star joined former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez as the all-time leading goalscorer in South American World Cup qualifiers:
Not only that, but he also moved into 5th on the list of the top free-kick takers in history.
Messi has now managed to find the net from set-piece situations on 65 occasions across his career, the same tally as David Beckham, and shy of only Ronaldinho, Victor Legrotaglie, Pele, and all-time leader Juninho Pernambucano: