No one has scored more goals than Lionel Messi in South American World Cup qualifying.
Messi has scored 31 career goals in CONMEBOL matchups, but has yet to score against Brazil.
Messi, the World Cup champion and Inter Miami star in the MLS, has a chance to change that distinction in Tuesday night’s match between Argentina and Brazil at the iconic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Argentina is fresh off its first loss in nearly a year, after falling 2-0 to Uruguay last Thursday. And Messi has not scored in his last three matches.
But Argentina won’t take a shorthanded Brazilian national team for granted. The Brazilians will be without stars Neymar (ACL tear), Vinícius Júnior (hamstring) and Casemiro (hamstring) in Tuesday night’s game.
“They have significant absences, but if you look at the team, they are all top level,” Argentine coach Luis Scaloni said during a press conference on Monday. “They have great players that are up to the task and it is Brazil, everyone knows what it means.”
How to watch Messi match in Maracanã, Argentina vs. Brazil in the U.S.?
The Argentina-Brazil match will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by Telemundo.
Could Messi and Ronaldo play next year?
“Earlier today, an announcement was issued stating that Inter Miami CF is scheduled to play in the Riyadh Season Cup. This is inaccurate,” Inter Miami said in a statement.
It was announced Messi and Inter Miami would face Ronaldo and Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia in February.
Could Messi make history again at the Maracanã?
Messi will play in what could be his final match at the iconic Brazilian stadium, looking to score his first qualifying goal against Brazil, in a venue that has provided both heartbreak and joy for soccer’s biggest star.
Messi suffered one of the most crushing losses of his career, the 2014 World Cup final against Germany at the Marcana Stadium. He also led Argentina to the Copa America crown in 2021, his first national team title, in the same stadium.
Messi is in the twilight of his standout career, riding the high of his World Cup win with Argentina from last December with MLS side Inter Miami, and competing with his national team for qualifying matches this fall.
This is Messi’s last match for 2023
It’s been an action packed 2023 for Leo Messi.
Messi had his offseason planned for at least a month. He plans to vacation in Argentina, he said in an interview after scoring two goals against Peru last month.
“It’ll be the first time in a while that I spend a lot of days here in December during the holidays in peace with my people,” Messi said. “And in January I’ll be back, I’ll do a preseason starting from zero and prepare myself the best I can, as always.”
Messi, Argentina lose first game since World Cup last week
It was Argentina’s first loss in nearly a year, since falling 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their World Cup opener on Nov. 22, 2022.
Argentina had not relinquished a goal to their opponents in eight matches – four friendlies and four qualifying matches – since their thrilling victory over France in the final.
Argentine goalie Emiliano Martínez’s impressive shutout streak of 751 minutes ended during the match.
Messi has not scored in his last three matches
Messi has been scoreless in his last three matches, after scoring in the 32nd and 42nd minutes in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Peru on Oct. 17.
He also did not score in Argentina’s loss to Uruguay last Thursday.
What are the CONMEBOL Standings?
Argentina still leads South American qualifying, while Brazil is in the middle of the pack.
Argentina leads the 10-team group with 12 points in five matches. Uruguay is second with 10 points. Colombia has nine and Venezuela eight. Brazil has seven points. Ecuador, Paraguay and Chile have five points each. Bolivia has three and Peru has one point.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Messi match today: Argentina vs. Brazil live updates, highlights