Argentina's Lionel Messi to Pass Diego Maradona on Nation's All-Time Caps List

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Argentina's Lionel Messi to Pass Diego Maradona on Nation's All-Time Caps List
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

As Argentina prepares for Wednesday's World Cup semifinal vs. the Netherlands, superstar Lionel Messi is poised to earn his 92nd international cap.

It's a tally that will move him ahead of the legendary Diego Maradona for sixth all-time on Argentina's appearances list, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Messi made his full international debut at the age of 18 in August 2005 against Hungary. However, after being introduced as a 63rd-minute substitute, the promising youngster lasted mere seconds before receiving a straight red card for elbowing an opponent.

While his subsequent outings for Argentina could only improve, Messi quickly became a national revelation in 2006.

He opened his international scoring account in a March friendly against Croatia and was also named to manager Jose Pekerman's squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Messi didn't feature in Argentina's opening match, but being brought on in the second half of their following game against Serbia and Montenegro made Messi the youngest player to represent Argentina at a World Cup.

He supplied an assist within minutes of entering the contest and later scored Argentina's final goal of the 6-0 rout.

In doing so, Messi proved his massive potential and was ultimately the tournament's youngest goalscorer.

The playmaker went on to lead his country to a second-place finish in the 2007 Copa America and a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, setting the stage for him to claim Argentina's No. 10 shirt in 2009.

In fact, the first time he donned the famed jersey came in Maradona's first official match as Argentina's manager. 

Considered perhaps the best player of all-time, Maradona scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for his country and handed Argentina its second World Cup title in 1986.

Maradona also coached Argentina to a quarterfinal finish at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where Messi failed to find the scoresheet despite numerous assists.

Since then, Messi won three consecutive FIFA Ballon d'Or awards as the world's best player from 2010-2012.

At this summer's World Cup in Brazil, Messi has carried new boss Alejandro Sabella's Argentina to the semifinals, accounting for four goals and one assist along the way.

Heading into Wednesday's match against the Netherlands, Messi has now scored 42 goals in 91 appearances for his country.

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