On the eve of Argentina's opening Copa America match on Thursday, Lionel Messi paid a visit to Argentine soccer show Estudio Futbol yesterday. He touched on a number of topics, including naming Dunga's Brazil as the favorites, the freedom he enjoys under national team boss Alfio Basile, and the recent la Liga season. The following is a quick rundown of what he had to say.
Argentina: "Now's the time we have to start winning, we're calm and confident in the squad we have. In terms of names, maybe Brazil is the only side stronger than ours."
The favorites: "Argentina and Brazil, because of the players they each have, are always going to be the favorites. For that reason they're the team to beat. I'd love a little payback for the 3-0 loss the last time we met.
Basile vs. Jose Pekerman: "I get to play more of a free role now, Basile asks me to start off on the right, like I do at Barcelona. But after that, I'm free to go how I see fit. Everything is a bit more relaxed than when Pekerman was here."
Juan Sebastian Veron: "Having him alongside me is great. His passes always hit you in stride, he's always looking to return the ball to you with a quick pass. On top of everything else, he's got loads of experience."
Barcelona: "I don't ever want to leave the club, I want to stay there forever. The people are great, I have a good relationship with the supporters, I get on well with the board... I have it all. Although, one day if it's possible, I'd love to play in Argentina, because that was me dream as a child."
La Liga: "The level of play is very high, just like in Argentina. We were killed in the press for not winning the league, although it's true that we were a little too sure of ourselves this season."
Newell's Old Boys: I'm very grateful to the club. At the time I did everything I could to try to stay, but it just wasn't possible. I would like to come back one day and play in the Rosario clasico against Central."
Fame: "It's not something I think about very often, I feel that I handle it pretty well. I always try to be gracious, it's the only way to be when you're a footballer. At the same time, I don't let it limit me, I still live my life the same as I always have."
Argentina faces the United States on Thursday. The match will be shown live on GolTV and TeleFutura at 8:45pm ET.
Lionel Messi Interview (in Spanish) [TyC Sports]