Lionel Messi may not be enjoying his best spell of form during this summer’s Copa America, yet he remains Brazil’s most feared rival heading into the semi-final clash between the two famous nations. The Barcelona forward has only scored one goal in the competition, which came from the penalty spot in the group stages, and the player himself has even acknowledged that he is not having a good tournament.
However, Brazil are not taking his slight dip in form for granted, aware that he could find his feet on the biggest stage.”When you have Messi … everything is possible,” said Rivaldo.”Messi steps up in these big games, just when Argentina needs him the most and Leo knows how to respond to these challenges,” the former Barcelona star said.
Blaugrana teammate Philippe Coutinho is well aware of the threat he can pose at any given moment.”Argentina will be very tough [opponents], Messi can make the difference in any moment.”Another colleague at club level who represents the famous yellow jersey is Malcom.
“Messi never ceases to amaze me with the things he does because it’s not foreseeable.”We know he can cut inside from the left, but we do not know when he’s going to do it – he’s waiting for the exact angle, the exact moment. “Today Messi is the best and, above all, he can decide a match in two minutes,” Malcom explained. The great Ronaldo Nazario also had some words of praise for Messi.”What can I say about Leo?”[I hope] that he plays for his whole life! “I believe that Leo is a player who wants to make people enjoy, and at 32 he could turn down [the chance to play] another Copa America, but he has rejected his vacations to be there, once again with his national team and trying to get a title because Argentina have not been able to win one for many years,” said the Real Valladolid owner.
Thiago Silva, who has faced the Barcelona no.10 many times at club level, is also aware that his country is not in for an easy ride. “What is Messi? For me he is the best player in history, the best I’ve ever seen, and it’s always a great privilege to face him,” the PSG captain said. “I did not see Pele or Zico, who are players who are talked about a lot. I did not see Maradona either, the only one I saw playing that way is Messi, a different player to everyone,” Silva said. “But now it’s Brazil vs Argentina, we’re going to defend our shirt and admire him in future matches,” he stated.