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The Barcelona forward was restricted to a second-
half cameo against Bolivia, but still found time to
score his 47th and 48th international goals
Argentina head coach Gerardo Martino praised
captain Lionel Messi after his 25-minute double
against Bolivia moved him closer to his nation’s all-
time goalscoring record.

Gabriel Batistuta currently holds the accolade with
56 strikes for his country, but the Barcelona
attacker is fast approaching the retired striker after
his latest two strikes took his overall total to 48.
Despite starting Friday’s friendly in Texas from the
substitutes’ bench, Messi got in on the act as
Argentina thrashed Bolivia 7-0, with Sergio Aguero
and Ezequiel Lavezzi also netting doubles, while
Angel Correa rounded off the scoring late on.

The morale-boosting win was a contrast to the
mood over the summer following Argentina’s defeat
to Chile in the final of the Copa America - a
tournament fallout which saw Messi criticised as
even Martino indulged in speculation over his
skipper’s international future while defending his

"I am sure Leo will catch Batistuta as the team's
leading scorer, he is getting closer,” Martino told
reporters after the match before going on to explain
why the 28-year-old did not play from the start.
"It is logical that the people who pay for tickets and
the organisers of the games want to see Messi

"But we had to think carefully about him because he
has played a lot of games. Luckily, in a short time,
he made it worth the price of admission."
Martino was understandably thrilled with his side’s
performance but was quick to look ahead to
Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico, which will be
their last preparation before the start of South
America’s World Cup qualification campaign.

"I am happy with the intensity with which we played,
both from the players who started and those who
came off the bench," he added.
"It is a good result and helps me form ideas, but
nobody will be ruled in or out of my team based on
a single game.

"We will see how the team changes. The idea is to
play everyone over both games but I have not
decided yet.”

Martino said he would wait to get fitness updates on
the likes of Lucas Biglia, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel
Garay, Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Pastore and Pablo
Zabaleta before naming his starting XI for the
Mexico clash.

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Posted By quadrihatic On 08:19 Sat, 05 Sep 2015

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