Messi set to return for Argentina, Spain cracker


"Against Ecuador I was a bit strong in my tone suggesting that football owed Messi a World Cup, however I knew he was going to appear for us at the vital moments".

The South American two-time winners reached the final in 2014 but lost 1-0 to Germany.

The game will see some familiar faces take to the pitch as Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium hosts its first global game, reports Xinhua news agency.

He has written in a book due to be released in April, from which "Viva", Clarin's Sunday magazine has been running snippets: "Messi has a revolver put to his head called the World Cup and if he doesn't win it, he's shot and killed".

Messi will turn 31 during the competition. "Passing next to the World Cup trophy was terrible".

"(In Russia) it will be a good opportunity.

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Dani Alves isn't too anxious about star man Neymar's absence from the Brazil squad, as he believes Philippe Coutinho is as good as the forward and can carry the team on his shoulders. In the last friendly he told us so.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has indicated Lionel Messi will feature against Spain in Tuesday's worldwide friendly in Madrid, ESPN reported.

Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said on Monday that "yesterday and today (Messi) trained and he was fine".

Nevertheless, the occasionally feisty nature of their Clasico showdowns does not give Sampaoli any cause for concern over Messi's fitness. "If there was a risk, Leo would have said so". The eve of the match against Italy he indicated that he was not in a state to play. It's always special to play against him, " De Gea added. "I don't think there will be a problem tomorrow (Tuesday)".

In addition to that loss, Argentina have suffered consecutive finals defeats to Chile in the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas, and Messi, 30, says this summer's tournament could be their last chance to win.

"Football is about the players, what I meant was he has the power to create links and communicate out on the field", he explained.