Enjoy Messi, Di Maria while we can, says Scaloni

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Enjoy Messi, Di Maria while we can, says Scaloni
Enjoy Messi, Di Maria while we can, says Scaloni

Africa-Press – Eritrea. Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni said Wednesday that football fans should relish the chance to see veterans Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria on the pitch together at this summer’s Copa America in the United States.

Di Maria, 36, has said he will call time on his international career after the continental tournament while Albiceleste captain Messi, who turns 37 on Monday, is likely to be playing in the competition for the last time.

“It doesn’t make much sense to think about when they’re gone. Let’s enjoy them now, we’ll see what happens later,” Scaloni told reporters ahead of his team’s Copa America opener against Canada on Thursday.

“Messi is fine, he’s happy. I also have new ideas and strength. It’s a nice challenge to defend the title,” he added.

Argentina are aiming to become the first team in history to successfully defend their Copa America title while simultaneously holding the World Cup crown.

Scaloni is not expecting an easy start against 49th-ranked Canada at the 71,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

“They have a very good team, with important players and a new coach [Jesse Marsch] who has brought new ideas,” he said. “In the last World Cup they played very well, but didn’t get the luck they deserved.

“They are a difficult opponent. Anyone who thinks it’s all been said and done is wrong. They’re the best in their country and it’s extremely difficult, especially at the start of a tournament. They can put us in trouble and we have to be prepared.”

Argentina will have the luxury of a fully fit squad for the clash against Les Rouges. One doubt is whether Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez, who underwent a hernia operation in April, will start in central midfield or if Scaloni will opt for Roma’s Leandro Paredes instead.

“We’ll see if he [Fernandez] plays tomorrow but he is available to start,” the head coach added.

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