Lionel Messi scores hat-trick on his 36th birthday including stunning free kick

Argentina’s exhibition game against Newell’s Old Boys included a magnificent hat-trick from Lionel Messi to celebrate his 36th birthday.

Messi played in the game while visiting Rosario, the place of his birth, and received an amazing reception from the crowd.

Maxi Rodriguez, a former Newell’s and Argentina winger, resigned from football earlier this year at the age of 42. The game served as his final game.

Rodriguez competed in three World Cups for his country and played for Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, and Espanyol in European football.

His farewell match featured some iconic names from modern Argentinian football, including Gabriel Batistuta, Walter Samuel, Pablo Aimar and current Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Once the game kicked off, it took Messi, who spent five years in the Newell’s youth system between 1995 and 2000, just four minutes to open the scoring – and he did so in some style.

Argentina won a free kick from just over 20 yards out, with Messi standing over it. And in trademark Messi fashion, he placed the ball over the wall with precision and in the corner of the net.

Goal number two came on 35 minutes, when the 36-year-old ran through on goal and calmly lifted the ball over the stranded goalkeeper.

The third objective was purely clinical. A lofted through ball from Rodriguez found Messi, and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner chested it down, controlled it on the turn, and fired into the opposite corner.
Before the game, an MC introduced the football legend to the spectators, and then the stadium sang “happy birthday” to Argentina’s most well-known citizen.

After the game, Messi told ESPN SportsCenter that it is “always beautiful” to be back in Rosario and claimed that he will continue to spend a portion of his birthday doing what he does best: scoring goals.


The forward is still contracted to Paris Saint-Germain, but that deal will expire in five days’ time. Messi will then move on to MLS franchise Inter Miami from July.

The Miami crowd will be hoping he can continue scoring free kicks such as the one against Newell’s for a long time to come in the United States.

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