Messi put on a clinic in the first half, scoring a hat trick to surpass the 100 goals mark for Argentina, with Nicolas Gonzalez and Enzo Fernandez both netting before the break as the rout was well and truly on in Santiago del Estero.
It was the second match in a row in which Messi surpassed a significant milestone in his illustrious career after hitting the 800-goal mark for club and country in a 2-0 win against Panama on Thursday.
An overmatched Curacao put up a fight for the first 20 minutes, but once Messi scored his first the floodgates opened and Gonzalez headed in Argentina’s second from close range after a scramble in front of Eloy Room‘s goal.
The Paris Saint-Germain star soon scored his second and Argentina’s third with a trademark, bending shot from his left foot before setting up teammate Fernandez for a thunderous strike from distance to make it 4-0.
Minutes later, Messi was at it again, running on to a perfectly weighted ball over the top of the Curacao defence from Giovani Lo Celso and rolling his shot past a helpless Room to complete a first-half hat trick.
The hosts seemed content to see out the match at a canter in the second half, but Argentina did add to the scoreline in the 78th minute with an Angel Di Maria penalty and a close-range strike from Gonzalo Montiel.
The game was followed by tributes from the home crowd for Lionel Scaloni and his 2022 World Cup winners, who will regroup in June for another international break with an eye on the start of CONMEBOL qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in September.