Digimagaz.com – The football world was once again treated to a masterclass by Lionel Messi as he secured victory for Argentina in their opening 2026 World Cup qualifier against Ecuador. The Inter Miami star’s mesmerizing free-kick in the 77th minute proved to be the decider, ensuring that the world champions got off to a winning start on their road to the 2026 World Cup.

Messi’s triumphant return to his homeland, following his heroics in leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar, was marked by a display of sheer brilliance. His performance only added fuel to the speculation that he is the favorite to clinch the prestigious 2023 Ballon d’Or.

Throughout the match, the world champions dominated possession on their home turf, but the Ecuadorian side proved to be a tough nut to crack. It seemed that Argentina was destined for frustration until the 77th minute when Messi’s magic unfolded.

The 36-year-old maestro demonstrated his exceptional free-kick abilities once again, curling the ball into the net with pinpoint precision. The ecstatic crowd erupted in cheers as Messi’s strike found the back of the net, securing a crucial victory for Argentina.

In the post-match press conference, Messi acknowledged the challenges ahead for the Argentine national team. “Everybody wants to beat Argentina, and now that we are world champions, even more so,” he commented. “That’s why we can’t go down. We even have to step up our game. The demand in each match is at its maximum, and it’s likely to increase further.”

Messi, who had returned to play for Argentina in front of his adoring fans after their World Cup victory in Qatar, also commented on the upcoming qualifiers. “There are going to be tough matches like this. Defeats, surely. We have to stay grounded, fight in every game, just as we have been doing since [head coach Lionel] Scaloni took charge. We knew it was going to be like this, especially because of the competitiveness of the qualifiers.”

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The Argentine captain gave due credit to the Ecuadorian side, acknowledging their strength and adaptability under a new coach. “Ecuador is a great team. They have been showing since the last qualifiers that they have very good players, that they are physically strong, and that they are clear about their strategies.”

With this hard-fought victory, Argentina now sets its sights on their next challenge, an away match against Bolivia scheduled for September 12. The Argentine fans hope that Messi’s magic will continue to shine and guide them on their journey to the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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