Lionel Messi and Angel de Maria appear to be World Cup-ready as they left no mercy to the United Arab Emirates in their 5-0 thrashing on Wednesday at Abu Dhabi.
The Argentina captain played the entire 90-minute match and got on the scoresheet with an incredible right-footed shot into the left of the Emirati box.
Nailing in his 91st goal for Argentina, Messi set up Julian Alvarez to open the scoring point in the 17th minute of the match.
Angel di Maria doubled his team’s advantage by catching a volley from Marcos Acuna’s pitch-perfect pass in the 25th minute.
Minutes later, di Maria looked invincible on the attack as he dribbled past several UAE defenders nailing in another point for the South Americans.
Joaquin Correa completed the rout after an assist by Rodrigo de Paul, rimming the ball past the goalkeeper.
Despite the defeat, a round of applause was given at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium before the Argentinan squad left for Qatar for the World Cup.
Presently in Qatar, Argentina will prepare for its opener against Saudi Arabia on November 22nd before matches against Mexico and Poland in Group C.
Qatar’s tournament will be Messi’s fifth World Cup edition and his last.
“Is it my last World Cup? Yes, surely yes, surely yes,” Messi told local Argentine outlet Star+ in October.
“I am counting down the days to the World Cup. There is a bit of anxiety and nerves at the same time. Wanting it to be now and the nerves that were are already there, what is going to happen,” Messi added.
“It’s the last one, how are we going to do. Yes, on the one hand, we can’t wait for it to arrive and on the other hand, we’re scared of wanting it to go well.”
Paired with Di Maria, Messi has captained his squad to 36 unbeaten matches since the 2021 Copa America tournament.