Lionel Messi will be determined to finally lift the Copa America at the fifth time of asking after three defeats in the final since 2007
Lionel Messi’s quest to win the biggest honour in the South American game begins again on Saturday as Argentina face Colombia in the first Group B clash of the 2019 Copa America at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil.
The Albiceleste are looking to lift the title for the first time since 1993 as they look to leave behind last-gasp defeats in 2007, 2015 and 2016 to write a new chapter in their history.
They face a difficult task against a number of sides however, with their opening opponents already having held them to a 0-0 draw last September.
The weight of expectation once again rests upon Lionel Messi’s shoulders as Argentina prepare to begin their latest Copa America campaign against Colombia in Brazil.
At 31, he is supposedly moving towards the end of his prime playing days, though his on-field exploits certainly suggest otherwise.
As such, he appears poised to finally lead his nation to Copa glory, with the honour one of the few glaring omissions on an otherwise stellar career.
Failure here would not spell the end of his chances, with Argentina themselves hosting next year’s edition, and at 36, he may still be in contention for the 2024 edition too.
But there can be little hiding that the Albiceleste’s defeats in 2007, 2015 and 2016 – the latter two in penalty shoot-outs to Chile – has left something of a hoodoo over whether he can captain his country to the top prize.
As such, Messi and his team-mates under Lionel Scaloni will be determined to go one step futher this year – and will begin with a clash against Carlos Queiroz’s side.
The Portuguese is still inside the first six months of his spell in charge after departing the top post with Iran, with whom he competed in two World Cups.
The 66-year-old has named enough formidable firepower in his side to trouble even the most ardent defences and the 2016 third-place finishers may fancy their chances as relative dark horses.
With Lionel Messi arguably in the prime of his career, the Barcelona star will be determined to make amends for his miss in the Centenario final against Chile three years ago.
Lionel Scaloni will likely favour a line-up similar to the one that defeated Nicaragua 5-1 in a warm-up game on June 7 as he looks to guide the Albiceleste to their first title since 1993.
Confirmed Argentina starting XI : Armani, Saravia, Otamendi, Pezzella, Tagliafico; Rodriguez, Lo Celso, Paredes; Di Maria, Aguero, Messi.