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Messi surpasses Pelé to become leading CONMEBOL goalscorer

Lionel Messi's brace against Bolivia took him past Pelé in the history books in South America.

Messi surpasses Pelé to become leading CONMEBOL goalscorer

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi created more history, surpassing Pelé as the all-time leading goalscorer for a South American nation on Thursday.

Messi scored his 78th international goal for Argentina in their World Cup qualifier against Bolivia, breaking the record held by Brazil great Pelé.

Messi hat-trick

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi had moved level with Pelé with his opening goal of the match on Thursday before his brace sent him clear in the record books.

Messi produced a moment of magic in the 14th minute, playing the ball through his opponent's legs before curling a shot past the goalkeeper in Buenos Aires, where the 34-year-old then made history in the 64th minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Next on the list of leading CONMEBOL scorers after Messi is Pelé (77), then Uruguay's Luis Suárez (64), followed by Chile forward Alexis Sánchez (46) and Peru star Paolo Guerrero (38).

It is not the first time Messi has eclipsed Pele, having surpassed the Santos icon with the most goals for an individual club with his 644th in Barcelona colours in December.

It comes after Messi guided Argentina to Copa America glory in July, ending the country's 28-year wait for silverware with his first senior international crown.