As the South American rivals prepare to face again in 11 days, Argentina captain Lionel Messi has heaped praise on Chile’s national squad. Read more about the Copa America title here.

On June 3, a World Cup qualifier will be played in Santiago del Estero, followed by a Copa America match on June 13 in Buenos Aires.

“It will be extremely difficult… Chile is a fantastic squad with excellent players,” Messi told the Argentine Football Association’s official website.

“They have an experienced bunch of players as well as some young individuals, even though they have a new coach [Martin Lasarte] and have not played many games under him. They’re becoming better and are competitive.”

Argentina will play Colombia in another World Cup qualifier on June 8 in Barranquilla before focusing on Copa America on home turf.

Messi stated that the Albiceleste want to improve on their third-place finish at the last Copa America two years ago in Brazil. He did agree, though, that a seven-month time without competition would be difficult.

“We made a nice impression at the last Copa America, but we can’t be pleased with that. The most recent qualifiers [in November] were excellent as well. Unfortunately, a lengthy period has gone by since we last spoke. We have not been able to reconnect,” the 33-year-old Barcelona striker stated.

Argentina’s all-time best scorer expressed his joy at returning to the international fold while lamenting his country’s ongoing COVID-19 conflict. He scored 71 goals in 142 games.

“I’m glad to be back with all of the lads. The reality is that we are in an unusual circumstance. Our preparation hasn’t gone as planned. But, little by little, we’re coming together and getting ready for two challenging qualifiers” added he.

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