WATCH: Lionel Messi scores hat-trick on return to Newell's Old Boys - including a sublime free-kick after entire stadium sings him happy birthday

Messi ArgentinaGetty Images
  • Messi scored superb treble
  • Returned for testimonial
  • Serenaded by fans

WHAT HAPPENED? Messi returned to Rosario for the testimonial of ex-international team-mate Maxi Rodriguez, along with the likes of Angel Di Maria and a host of former Argentina national team stars. Messi was initially serenaded with a chant of happy birthday from the crowd, and then did what he does best, scoring a hat-trick, including an absolutely sublime free-kick.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi lived in Rosario and played in the Newell's academy ranks as a child before moving to Barcelona, and his first goal at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa came after just four minutes. He went on to score a brilliant chip, and later got on the end of a long ball before finishing coolly, all before half-time. Messi had been linked with a return to Newell's earlier this year, but he recently confirmed that he will be heading to MLS when his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expires on June 30.

WHAT NEXT? Messi is poised to head to the United States to kick off his Inter Miami career, with his debut set to come in a Leagues Cup clash against Mexican club Cruz Azul on July 21.