"Messi is E.T. He's from another planet". While the Seleção have nothing to play for, they sent out a quality team to play Bolivia on Thursday (though they promptly drew 0-0).
Yet two goals in eight minutes from Messi put Argentina in front; his first came after excellent interplay with Angel Di Maria, before he pounced on some lackadaisical play in the home defence and ruthlessly fired into the roof of the net.
The Albiceleste conceded inside the first minute, before a Messi brace put them ahead before the break.
It was proof for the doomsayers that this team was a lost cause.
Finally we reach Lionel Messi and Argentina, now in sixth place in the CONMEBOL standings.
"2-1 was not enough".
Some even thought this was all a ploy from the Argentina team so we could really see what Messi is capable of when pushed to the limits. Thanks to God, we fulfilled the objective.
After his first global hat-trick, Messi scored the next two triple goals in merely one and a half year.
Pablo Ramos, 34, could hardly take it in.
Ecuador had a solid run in this CONMEBOL region, now eighth with 20 points but its World Cup aspirations are already over.
Messi got his third in the 62nd, weighting a ideal 18- yard shot that went in just over the fingers of Ecuador keeper Maximo Banguera. But they still have a chance on the final day. The Argentine public had grown exhausted of believing in vain.
Argentina, meanwhile, earned a 3-1 win over Ecuador in Quito. The nation held its breath.
"The reality is that it will be very hard, but it's not over yet", Advocaat said.
But if Argentina hadn't of qualified from the CONMEBOL qualification stage, meaning Messi would have missed out, why would it have been unacceptable that the world's best player wouldn't be on the plane to Russian Federation?
"It's complicated, I want the team to be at the World Cup in Russian Federation, but only a miracle can save them". Here is what each CONMEBOL team needs to do to qualify for the World Cup.
Lionel Messi missing out on the World Cup would be a disaster for all of the people who make money off it. "He is the best player in the history of soccer and I'm very excited to be in a group near him". It's not gonna happen - Luis Suarez is going to the World Cup.