Lionel Messi turns attention to Copa America
Tuesday 31 May 2011
Lionel Messi set his sights on the Copa America today after another glorious season with Barcelona to whom he pledged his future.
"I had the luck to win everything with Barcelona, but my objective now is to win the Copa America with the national team," Messi told reporters on arrival from Spain at a packed Ezeiza airport swarming with reporters and fans.
"I can't see myself playing in another shirt that isn't Barcelona's," added a blushing Messi after he was surprised with a big kiss planted on his cheek by an admirer.
Messi, who has yet to win over many Argentines in the way he has Europeans who hail him as one of the game's greats, helped his club lift the Champions League on Saturday, scoring a brilliant 53rd goal in 55 matches in the season.
The 23-year-old will have a short holiday in his home town of Rosario until June 8 when he links up with coach Sergio Batista's squad for the countdown to the Copa America being hosted by Argentina from July 1-24.
Not everyone in the world is so happy about Messi's well-earned break with local media reporting Nigerians are complaining they will not get to watch him in Wednesday's friendly in Abuja in which Batista will field a second-string team made up of fringe European-based Argentina players.
Messi is an old foe of the Nigerians having helped Argentina beat them in the 2005 World Youth Championship final, the 2008 Olympic final at the Beijing Games and their opening group match at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Latest in Sport
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1 player ratings: Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata on target - but who scored highest?
Juventus vs Real Madrid match report: Carlos Tevez gives Juve the edge after goals from Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo
Gareth Bale performance slammed by Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Lee Dixon: 'His team-mates can't be happy'
David Beckham reveals secret of his success: I 'stayed in to watch Match of the Day' rather than go out with friends on a Saturday night
Cristiano Ronaldo sticks up for Japanese boy after he struggles to speak Portuguese
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach