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Messi Will Be In Charge Of The Team At World Cup – Sampaoli | The Precision

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Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has the talent
and maturity to carry Argentina’s hopes of a successful World Cup
campaign this year, the national team’s manager Jorge Sampaoli has said. 

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi has led Barcelona to
30 domestic and European trophies during a stellar career but is yet to
win a major trophy with the national team, apart from a gold medal at
the 2008 Olympics. 
Argentina finished
runners-up to Germany at the 2014 World Cup and to Chile at the 2015 and
2016 Copa America tournaments, and Sampaoli believes that Messi can
help the team go one step further and end their trophy drought in
Russia. 
“This
is going to be his team,” Sampaoli told a news conference on Thursday.
“He is the best of all and is in a stage of maturity that can he can
carry the team on his shoulders. This is going to be his team.” 
Messi,
who is the all-time top goal-scorer for both club and country,
initially announced his retirement from international football after the
loss to Chile in 2016 but the 30-year-old has since reversed his
decision. 
Meanwhile, Manchester City forward Sergio
Aguero has been ruled out of Argentina’s friendly against Italy at the
Etihad Stadium on Friday due to a knee injury but could return for next
week’s trip to Spain. 
“We’ve been talking to the doctors
here at Manchester City and trying to evaluate his situation to see if
he can play any part. It looks like he’ll be sitting out the first one
and we’ll see about the second one,” Sampaoli added. 
The
former Chile boss believes the friendlies against Italy, who failed to
qualify for the World Cup finals, and Spain present an opportunity for
Argentina to send out a warning to their opponents in Russia. 
“Everyone
gives us a leading role in the World Cup and my obligation is to
increase that, to try to make the rivals fear us even more, today
Argentina is very respected,” he added. 
Two-time winners
Argentina open their World Cup campaign with a Group D encounter
against Iceland on June 16, and will also face Croatia and Nigeria in
the pool stage. (Reuters)

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