Messi scored a hat-trick as Argentina beat Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier.
In front of 20,000 fans at the Monumental Stadium, Messi matched Pele when he opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a shot from outside the box.
He broke the record by dribbling past a defender for his second in the 64th minute, and added his third from a rebound two minutes from the end.
The 34-year-old celebrated after the match with the Copa America trophy, having led Argentina to his first major title with his country in July with a victory over Brazil in the final.
Messi’s Paris St Germain teammate Neymar sits third on the South American list with 68 goals.