It took him a while to get warmed up but Lionel Messi has finally arrived at the World Cup party.
After struggling against Iceland and Croatia, Argentina were staring down the barrel ahead of Tuesday’s must-win clash against Nigeria hoping their main man would be capable of rediscovering his best form.
Messi had gone 664 minutes of World Cup action in total without a goal but brought joy to his nation with a simply stunning strike just shy of the quarter hour mark.
Arsenal transfer target Ever Banega deserved credit for spotting and locating Messi’s run with a sumptuous long pass but Messi required three perfect touches with three different parts of his body to score.
The Barcelona superstar controlled the ball on this thigh before nudging the ball away from the defender without touching the ground.
When he caught up with the ball he delivered a thumping shot with his ‘weaker’ right foot across goalkeeper Uzoho and into the far corner.
As well as boosting Argentina’s hopes of qualification for the next round, it meant Messi is now the only player to scored a World Cup goal in his teens, 20s and 30s.
The 31-year old opened his World Cup as a long-haired teenager back in 2006 agianst Serbia back in 2006. Incredibly, he failed to score at the 2010 World Cup but was on target three times four years ago in Brazil.