Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli says Lionel Messi is in a “good moment” physically and excited at the challenge of helping Argentina win a third FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Messi finished the Spanish LaLiga campaign as the top goalscorer in Europe after scoring 34 league goals.
“I’ve talked to Messi and I found him very excited about what’s coming, physically he’s in a good moment,” Sampaoli told a news conference on Monday shortly after he announced his final squad for the World Cup in Russia.
The La Albiceleste will face Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in Group D in Russia.
Sampaoli, who remains confident the team will impress at the tournament, revealed that he picked the players who are able to cope with the pressure of carrying the hopes of a nation on the big stage.
Sampaoli also declared Sergio Aguero fully fit for the World Cup.
The 29-year -ld Aguero has not played for his club Manchester City since April due to a knee injury.
“He is working normally since last week,” the coach said.
“[Gabriel] Mercado is not going to have any kind of major problems. We’ll see how Lucas Biglia arrives in camp.
“The World Cup has to be faced without fear, with loftiness, with presence, and those who are more convinced of their game will be closer to the starting line-up.
“One understands that these players have characteristics that serve us … with time and the desire to play, this will be enhanced, I have great hope and, every time I see them train, the dream grows.
“For me, the objective is to enhance individual characteristics to make a great World Cup.
“If we dare to play, we will be a complex opponent for anyone.
“We are obliged to move an entire country, I hope we can do it the way we want.”