Barcelona star Lionel Messi has told reporters he would pay to watch the national teams of Brazil, Colombia and Chile.
Speaking ahead of the Copa America, which gets underway on Thursday, the Argentina captain admits he admires the football his side’s rivals are capable of producing.
The 27-year-old is desperate to win the Copa America, conceding it would be “the best thing ever”, and help Argentina end their 22-year wait for a major trophy in the process.
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"We know that it would be the best thing ever to end the season by lifting the Copa America,” Messi was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper AS. “Thankfully, we were able to fulfil our objectives with our club and hopefully we can now gain more success with the national team which is what we all want.
“I love good football and I would pay to watch Brazil, Colombia and Chile.”
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Messi in the form of his career
Messi and his Argentina teammates were left devastated after missing out on the World Cup to Germany last summer, but the four-time Ballon d’Or winner comes into the Copa America in arguably the best form of his career.
The Barcelona superstar helped his club side finish the season with all three major trophies, including the Champions League, which the Catalan giants secured last weekend following a 3-1 victory over Juventus in Berlin.
"I don’t know if this has been my best year, but I feel fine within my self, and very happy,” Messi added. “We won every competition we entered and it’s incredible to do the treble again. It’s been a spectacular year.
“With the national team we are all in good shape and we have some great players who can help us to achieve what we want. But all of our rivals are going to be difficult; this is one of the closest tournaments in a long time.
“We’re going into this in better shape than we did at the World Cup because we had a few players injured. It’s important for us, and for Argentina because it’s been a while since we last won it.”
Argentina and Messi the favourites
Argentina are currently the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the Copa America trophy in Santiago on July 4.
Gerardo Martino’s side are expected to ease through their qualifying group, although historic rivals Uruguay will pose stiff competition for top spot. Paraguay and Jamaica, also in Group B, are not expected to pull up many trees in Chile this month but may spring a surprise or two.
Incidentally, Messi is the favourite to finish the tournament as top scorer, closely followed by his Barcelona teammate Neymar.
However, it’s now almost 3000 days since Messi last netted a Copa America goal - a glorious chipped effort against Mexico back in July 2007.
Will Argentina win the Copa America this summer? Who will finish as the tournament’s top scorer? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!