(CNN) It was a night full of goals and historic achievements Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as the duo went on to cement their place as one of the greatest players of all time.
In the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, Messi And his fellow Argentines played at home for the first time since they played World Cup victory Just over three months ago.
More than 80,000 cheering fans greeted them inside River Plate’s famous stadium at River Plate Memorial Stadium for a night of celebration that is likely to last into the morning.
The players were presented with the World Cup, as they paraded around the stadium after a 2-0 friendly win over Panama, as well as T-shirts embroidered with three gold stars to signify the country’s victories in the World Cup.
All the players of the team that won the World Cup in Qatar were called up to the national team for those friendlies against Panama and Curaçao to allow them to enjoy their moment of glory.
By the time the match kicked off, the in-stadium celebrations—which included DJs, bands, fireworks, and an 80,000-strong singalong—had been going on for more than four hours, with the match itself becoming little more than a footnote.
It took 78 minutes for Argentina to make the breakthrough against Panama’s reserves, with Thiago Almada opening the scoring.
Then, with just a minute left, came Messi’s moment of glory as he sealed the winning free-kick. It was his 99th international goal and the 800th goal of his professional career.
Messi said at the closing ceremony: “I have always dreamed of this moment, to celebrate with you in my country, Argentina, and to raise the greatest thing, which is the World Cup.”
“Let’s keep doing what we’re doing and enjoying this because we’ve been waiting for a long time to win it again. Let’s enjoy the third star.”
Ronaldo breaks the record for appearances and increases the tally of goals
The same night, Ronaldo broke the men’s record for most caps as he earned his 197th cap for Portugal in the team’s Euro 2024 qualifying victory over Liechtenstein.
The previous record of 196 was held by Kuwaiti striker Bader Al-Mutawa.
Ronaldo scored twice – a penalty and a stunning free kick – in the 4-0 win as Portugal’s campaign got off to the perfect start, with Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva also shining on the score sheet.
The 38-year-old made his debut for Portugal in 2003 and has now scored a record 120 international goals.
Elsewhere in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, Harry Kane banished some demons from Qatar by scoring a penalty to become England’s all-time top scorer with 54 goals.
After missing a penalty in the quarter-final against France which would have equaled England and given him the record, Kane said breaking the record from the penalty spot “means a lot”.
Wayne Rooney, who has held the record as England’s top goalscorer since 2015, chirp“Congratulations to Harry Kane on becoming England’s all-time leading goalscorer.
“I knew it wouldn’t take long but it was fast. A great guy, an incredible goalscorer and an England legend.”
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”
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