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Lionel Messi: Argentina need to be on top form to win Copa America

Lionel Messi: Argentina need to be on top form to win Copa America

Lionel Messi says Argentina will need to be at their best to win the Copa America.

The World Cup winners get the defence of their continental crown underway against Canada in the US later this week and Messi is expecting some stiff competition as the team looks to retain the trophy they won in 2021.

The football great said: "Today, we can say that we are the best because we are the world champions. But that does not make us believe that we are going to win this Copa America by walking.

"It is going to be very level, all the teams are complicated. Ecuador has a generation of very good youngsters, who know well what they want, they are intense with the ball, they are clear about what they do and they are physically strong. And like them, you also have Colombia, Uruguay, not to mention Brazil. That's why I say it will be even and our team is aware that we are going to have to continue doing the same and more to win again."

Argentina's great rivals Brazil enter the tournament in poor form and are without injured talisman Neymar but Messi still expects them to be major contenders in terms of lifting the trophy.

He said: "It [Neymar's absence] is a shame, but they have a million players. Brazil always has plenty of players because they are continually different. They have a very strong, very competitive team. Brazil is like Argentina: it's a candidate and wants to win the Copa America."

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