Argentina captain Lionel Messi admits the squad is “concerned” about catching coronavirus at the Copa America in Brazil.
The tournament has already been badly hit by the pandemic, as Messi’s country was due to be a co-host with Colombia, before both nations were stripped of their privileges because of the Covid-19 situation there.
It was only awarded to Brazil two weeks ago, but the situation in the east of South America is not great either and there have been protests about the government's handling of the crisis. Brazil's players strongly criticised the decision to bring it to their country but stopped short of staging a boycott.
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A total of 12 players from Venezuela have already tested positive and three from Bolivia, with the former losing 3-0 to the new hosts last night.
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"We are concerned about the situation because it is a risk for all of us to catch Covid-19," said Messi.
Although we try to take care of ourselves and do everything they tell us, it is not easy, because then these things happen and we face other national teams where there is a risk of contagion.
"We will try to do our best so that it does not happen to us, but this does not depend only on us and anything can happen.”
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Despite his success individually and with Barcelona, Messi has never won a senior title at international level, though he was part of the team that claimed Olympic gold in 2008. At 33, the inspirational forward is running out of chances to match his record at club level with his country.
"I think this is the time to strike a blow and the chance could come in this Copa America," said Messi.
"My big dream is to win a title with the national team. I was very close on many occasions and unfortunately it didn't work out. I will keep going until I can't any more.
"I've been lucky enough to win everything at a club level and on an individual level and it would be beautiful to win with the national team as well."
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