Lionel Messi

Soccer: Argentina impressed by Messi's desire to end trophy heartache

SALVADOR, Brazil (Reuters) - Argentina defender Nicolas Tagliafico has praised captain Lionel Messi for his desire to win a trophy for his country as they begin their quest to end a 26-year wait for silverware with their Copa America opener against Colombia on Saturday.

Messi took time out after their limp 2018 World Cup campaign ended with defeat by eventual champions France but the Barcelona forward returned to the team earlier this year to prepare for the Copa — the last trophy Argentina won, in 1993.

“I am lucky enough to have been in the same team as Messi before and his desire is what impresses me the most,” Tagliafico told a news conference ahead of the Group B game at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador.

Coach Lionel Scaloni echoed the defender’s description of Argentina’s all-time top scorer Messi, who has been unable to replicate his achievements with Barcelona for his country.

Scaloni revealed his entire starting lineup against Colombia, putting Messi in a familiar front three alongside veteran forwards Angel di Maria and Sergio Aguero.

The midfield will be formed by the relatively inexperienced trio of Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes and Guido Rodriguez, while Tagliafico will be joined in defence by Nicolas Otamendi, German Pezzella and Renzo Saravia, with Franco Armani in goal.

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