Messi double gives Argentina 2-0 win over Peru in World Cup qualifiers


Echegaray: Messi is still 'retiring players' with his skills

Luis Miguel Echegaray reacts to Lionel Messi's performance in Argentina's 2-0 win vs. Peru in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers.

Lionel Messi proved he is back to full fitness after scoring both goals in Argentina's 2-0 win over Peru in their 2026 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Messi made his return to a starting lineup after being sidelined or coming from the bench for the last four weeks due to a muscle problem. His last start before facing Peru in Lima was with Inter Miami against Toronto FC on Sept. 20.

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The 36-year-old put the world champions ahead in the 32nd minute with a superb shot after an assist from Nicolas Gonzalez, and made it 2-0 10 minutes later with a fierce finish from Enzo Fernandez's pass.

Messi, who was denied a hat-trick in the second half when he had a goal disallowed for offside following a VAR review, became CONMEBOL's leading scorer in World Cup qualifiers with his double taking his tally to 31, breaking a tie with Uruguay's Luis Suarez.

"This team is incredible, every time they play they are very close to being the best in history," Messi said.

"On a game level I think we have grown. After winning the World Cup we are confident, very loose, more united and firm. Hopefully we can continue to grow," he added.

Coach Lionel Scaloni said Argentina's players were on the same wavelength as Messi, who is planning to retire before the 2026 World Cup.

"The team has understood Messi for a long time, it benefits him and he feels comfortable," he added. "I hope he plays as much as he can because everyone is happy to see him on the pitch."

Argentina, who remain top of the CONMEBOL standings, will host Uruguay on Nov. 16 before taking on Brazil five days later.