Lionel Messi is fired up and ready to roll this summer.
The Barcelona and Argentina superstar, 28, will captain La Albiceleste at the 2016 Copa America Centenario being held across the United States of America this summer.
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Argentina is in Group D alongside Chile, Panama and Bolivia and they are the favorites to win the competition this summer.
Messi has been named FIFA’s World Player of the Year five times. He’s won every major trophy with Barcelona.
Yet one thing eludes him: glory with Argentina.
He was part of the Argentine Olympic squad which won Gold at Beijing in 2008 but the mercurial playmaker has never won a major trophy such as a World Cup or Copa America with Argentina.
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Speaking to Sports Illustrated in first person ahead of this summer, Messi spoke of his fondness for the U.S. after multiple trips to play friendlies with club and country in recent years nd how he aims to end Argentina’s 23-year trophy drought this summer, especially after losing in both the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa America finals.
“Of course, outside of my family nothing would make me happier than to win my first World Cup with Argentina in 2018. The Copa America this summer is an important step along the way, a chance to show that we can raise a senior trophy for the first time in 23 years. And if we can do that, it will also mean spending nearly a month in the U.S. and learning more about this special country. If you Americans are looking forward to seeing me in person, trust me: The feeling is mutual.”
See you this summer, Lionel.
Argentina has not won the World Cup since 1986 and the Copa America since 1993. They’re long overdue a trophy and Messi seems hellbent on delivering it during his time as skipper. Gerardo Martino’s side are among the 10 teams from CONMEBOL who will link with six nations from CONCACAF in an expanded format of Copa America to celebrate the competitions 100-year anniversary.
ProSoccerTalk will have full coverage of the entire 16-team Copa America Centenario tournament, which you can find here.