Lionel Messi issued a serious warning to the Super Eagles ahead of the World Cup with a hat-trick in their 4-0 warm-up win over Haiti on Wednesday morning.
With Javier Mascherano making his 143rd appearance to put him one ahead of Javier Zanetti as Argentina’s most capped player, Messi got the opener from the penalty spot after 17 minutes.
He doubled their lead 12 minutes into the second half with a simple tap-in after the goalkeeper could only parry a header, scored Argentina’s third after 65 minutes, and then set up Sergio Aguero to make it four just two minutes later.
Argentina failed to add to their tally but should have been further ahead against Haiti, whose sole appearance at the World Cup finals came in 1974 and are ranked 108th in the world, 103 places below them in the world rankings.
“More than the result we were able to say goodbye to our fans and show that we are going to Russia with hope,” Messi said.
“We’re not going as favourites because we had a complicated time in the qualifiers, but we are training well and we will give it our all.”
The Super Eagles will face the Argentines in their final group game in Russia.