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Messi sends a message to Mascherano after matching Argentina record

Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Argentina
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After equaling Javier Mascherano’s Argentina record, Lionel Messi paid tribute to his former teammate with a touching message.

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Lionel Messi paid tribute to Javier Mascherano after matching his former teammate’s all-time appearance record for Argentina.

Messi moved level with Mascherano on 147 caps in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Paraguay on Tuesday morning. If The 33-year-old plays again next week, he’ll become the sole record holder of the national team’s most capped player and top scorer titles.

Papu Gomez’s 10th-minute goal ensured the Albiceleste made it three wins out of three in the Copa America.

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“Another important victory to continue growing,” Messi wrote on Instagram.

“I am proud to have been able to wear the blue and white as many times as my friend Mascherano whom I love very much and who I have always respected and admired.”

Messi won his first cap for Argentina in a friendly against Hungary in August 2005. His international debut lasted just a minute back then, having received a red card for elbowing Vilmos Vanczak.

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Almost 16 years later, however, the Barcelona star has bagged a record 73 goals and 51 assists in 147 games. He hopes to win his first major title with the senior team in this summer’s Copa America.

Mascherano responds in kind

The 37-year-old, who played alongside Messi for Barcelona and Argentina, paid his own tribute to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

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“Congratulations Leo for having reached the record appearances for Argentina,” Mascherano posted.

“Nobody better than you to continue growing the legend and be the player with the most appearances in our national team, nobody represents us better in the world.

“Congratulations to the whole team for the victory and may there be many more!”

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Argentina return to action next Tuesday to face Bolivia at the Arena Pantanal in Brazil.