The record for the most international goals scored by a South American player was before now held by Pele. The Brazilian scored a total of 77 international goals for Brazil during his playing career. This record was seen to be beyond the reach of another South American player owing to how tough it is to score against South American teams. South American teams are more brutal on the defense compared to their European counterparts.
The record for most international goals for a South American is now held by none other than Lionel Messi. Lionel Messi equalled Pele's record with his hattrick against Bolivia in their World Cup qualifiers match. Since equalling and breaking Pele's record, Lionel Messi has shown no sign of slowing down as he has continued to extend his own record. Messi's goal against Uruguay has now set the record at 80 international goals for a South American player. Lionel Messi is now the first South American player to score 80 goals. Messi achieved this feat in 155 games for Argentina.
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