(CNN) It was a night of landmark goals and historic achievements for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as the pair continue to cement their places as two of the greatest players of all time.
In the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, Messi and his Argentina teammates played on home soil for the first time since their The victory of the World Cup just over three months ago.
They were given a hero’s welcome by more than 80,000 ecstatic fans inside River Plate’s iconic Estadio Monumental in a night of celebrations likely to last into the morning.
The players were shown the World Cup trophy, which they paraded around the stadium after the 2-0 friendly win over Panama, as well as shirts embroidered with three gold stars to signify the country’s three World Cup victories .
Players from the squad that won the World Cup in Qatar have all been called up to the national team for two friendly fixtures against Panama and Curaçao to allow them to enjoy their moment of glory.
By the time it started, the festivities inside the stadium — which included DJs, bands, fireworks and an 80,000-strong singalong — had continued for more than four hours, with the match itself becoming a footnote.
It took 78 minutes for Argentina to find victory against what was more than a reserve Panama team, with Thiago Almada opening the scoring.
Then, with just a minute left, came Messi’s moment of glory as he sealed the winner with a stunning free kick. It was his 99th international goal and the 800th of his professional career.
“I always dreamed of this moment, to celebrate with you in my country Argentina, to lift the greatest thing which is the World Cup,” Messi said at the closing ceremony.
“Let’s keep doing what we’re doing and enjoy this because we’ve been waiting for a long time to win again. Let’s enjoy the third star.”
Ronaldo broke the appearance record, increased the goal tally
That same night, Ronaldo broke the men’s record for most international appearances when he earned his 197th cap for Portugal in the team’s Euro 2024 qualifying win over Liechtenstein.
The previous record of 196 was held by Kuwait forward Bader Al-Mutawa.
Ronaldo scored two goals — a penalty and a stunning free kick — in a 4-0 win as Portugal’s campaign got off to the perfect start, with João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva also getting on the score sheet.
The 38-year-old made his debut for Portugal in 2003 and now has a record 120 international goals.
Elsewhere in Euro 2024 qualifying, Harry Kane banished some of the demons from Qatar by scoring a penalty to become England’s all-time leading goalscorer with 54 goals.
After missing a penalty in the quarterfinals against France that would have pulled England level and given him the record, Kane said breaking the record from the spot “means something.”
Wayne Rooney, who has held the record as England’s leading goalscorer since 2015, tweeted: “Congratulations to Harry Kane on becoming England’s all-time leading goalscorer.
“I know it won’t last long but that’s fast. Great man, incredible goalscorer and an England legend.”