Coach Gerardo Martino started with a second-string side that saw Barcelona’s Messi, Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero of Manchester City all on the bench.
Messi came on with half an hour of the match remaining and played a starring cameo role that delighted the home crowd of just over 20,000.
By the time he entered the fray the score was already 4-0 but soon the little wizard had made it five, playing a neat one-two before dinking the ball over goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai.
He was then instrumental in Argentina’s sixth, pulling the ball back from the byline to give Nicolas Gaitan of Benfica the easiest of tap-ins from inside the six-yard box.
With five minutes to go Messi wrapped up the win in style, scoring his second and Argentina’s seventh in the match which marked the Hong Kong Football Association’s centenary year.
The number 10 took the ball down beautifully with his left foot before going past three Hong Kong defenders and rifling it low into the corner.
Shortly afterwards, in stoppage time, the game had a surreal moment when a fan in an Argentina shirt invaded the pitch and handed a marker pen to Messi.
The Argentina captain signed the shirt before the fan was escorted off the pitch by security guards- AFP