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Record-man Messi singles out one Argentina star for special praise

Lionel Messi
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Despite Lionel Messi making more history against Uruguay, the Argentina captain instead singled out the impact of the ‘fundamental’ Emiliano Martinez.

Lionel Messi has hailed Argentina teammate Emiliano Martinez as ‘one of the best goalkeepers in the world’.

The Aston Villa keeper produced a man-of-the-match display in Argentina’s 3-0 win over Uruguay. He was terrific in goal to help extend La Albiceleste’s unbeaten run to 24 matches.

Martinez expertly denied Uruguay on multiple occasions, notably denying Luis Suarez twice with brilliant saves. It was a fantastic night for the 28-year-old, who only made his international debut in April.

“Dibu [Emiliano] Martinez is fundamental,” Messi told reporters about the former Arsenal man after the match. “When they come to him, he always responds. He established himself in goal and we have one of the best goalkeepers in the world.”

Leo sets a new goal milestone

After surpassing Brazil legend Pele as the top men’s goalscorer in South American football history in September, Messi went one better in Buenos Aires by becoming the first player from the continent to score 80 international goals.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward put Argentina in front with a 38th-minute opener. Rodrigo De Paul doubled the home side’s lead before Lautaro Martinez sealed the 3-0 win just past the hour-mark.

Messi added: “We played a great match. I think we are growing in terms of our play. We got used to having the ball. Today was a tough match, and we had to win it. Everything turned out perfect.

“Uruguay waits for you and creates danger. Once we got the first goal, we started to find space and the goals appeared. It was important to win because we knew the results of the other teams. We have one game left and if we get 7 points, we are very good.”

Argentina are in second place in the South American World Cup qualification standings. Messi and the team, who sit six points behind leaders Brazil, next face Peru on Friday.