Messi’s two goals for Barcelona in a weekend win over Real Mallorca gave the maestro 76 goals for 2012 to date, beating Pele’s tally of 75 from 1958 and taking him to within nine of Gerd Mueller’s all time record total of 85 set in 1972.
But he missed a chance to close down the deficit on Mueller as the Argentinians plodded to a stalemate in a match short on inspiration or major incident.
Messi thus also failed to move ahead of his 12 goals for the year in his national shirt - a goal here would have taken him beyond the 12 he shares with Gabriel Batistuta.
Meanwhile, Holland were held to a goalless draw by neighbours Germany in Wednesday’s international friendly with both injury-hit teams fielding make-shift sides after a raft of withdrawals.
With both nations top of their respective World Cup qualifying groups, an experimental theme ran through both line-ups at Amsterdam Arena, but there was little to light up a dull encounter.