x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Messi 'will be best in world until he retires', says Aguero

Argentina hero claims international hat-trick against Brazil after taking season tally to 82 goals.

Lionel Messi celebrates with teammates after scoring his third against Brazil.
Lionel Messi celebrates with teammates after scoring his third against Brazil.

NEWARK // Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero believes Lionel Messi will be regarded as the world's best player until he retires from football after watching his international teammate score a hat-trick against Brazil.

The Barcelona star took his tally for the season to 82 goals for club and country after claiming the hat-trick in a friendly match in front of more than 81,000 in New Jersey.

And afterwards Aguero hailed his strike partner's performance as proof he is the best in the game.

"He does not surprise me anymore," he said. "He is the world's best player, no question about it.

"He won three Ballon d'Or and he is competing for another one. He will be the best player in the world until he retires."

Argentina fielded a near full-strength side, while Brazil opted for a younger-looking Olympic-style squad.

But it was Brazil who struck first, with Romulo opened the scoring in the 23rd minute

Messi then struck back to give Argentina a 2-1 lead with goals in the 31st and 34th minute, before Oscar levelled the game ten minutes into the second half.

Hulk converted a corner kick dropped by goalkeeper Sergio Romero, but Argentina rallied three minutes later when Federico Fernandez scored from an Aguero corner.

Messi completed the comeback late in the game when he picked up the ball at midfield, charged ahead and blasted a left-footed shot from 21 yards that went in just below the crossbar.

And afterwards, he admitted he was delighted to find the net against Argentina's old rivals.

"Despite being a friendly, it is always nice to defeat Brazil," he said afterwards.

"I'm also very happy with my three goals, it's not common see seven goals in Argentina versus Brazil"