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Lionel Messi was back in an Argentina shirt with the captain’s armband strapped around his left arm, and it took just one half of soccer in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Uruguay to remind Argentine fans what they would’ve missed had he stayed retired.
The Barcelona superstar momentarily broke through the physical and sometimes chippy play in Argentina’s 1-0 home victory in Mendoza to score a wonderful opening goal in the 43rd minute.
What made the goal special was Messi’s control with his heel. Here’s his exquisite flick in slow motion.
Unfortunately for Messi and Argentina, Paulo Dybala got sent off just before halftime to reduce the Albiceleste to 10 men. The second yellow card left the 22-year-old Juventus star in tears and had Messi in the referee’s face at halftime and again before the start of the second half.
With the Argentines clinging to a 1-0 lead late, a few fans at Estadio Malvinas couldn’t pass up the chance to let Messi know just how much they appreciate Argentina’s No. 10. They ran onto the field to halt play, one of them getting close enough to hug Messi.