Lionel Messi admitted that Argentina’s players are “anxious” and “nervous” ahead of their World Cup debut against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday morning. The Paris Saint-Germain striker played in the 2014 World Cup final when his country was beaten 1-0 by Germany and is set to appear in his last World Cup in Qatar.
“Anxiety and nerves exist,” said the 35-year-old. “For most of the players on our team it is their first World Cup. Tomorrow we will have a difficult match”.
Messi has scored 91 goals in 165 appearances for his country and has appeared in the last four World Cups. However, the veteran only found the back of the net a total of six times in those tournaments and has never been able to get his hands on the trophy.
But Argentina are among the favorites to win the tournament this year after lifting the Copa América trophy last year and navigating through their World Cup qualifying group without losing a game.
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And before the clash with Saudi Arabia, Messi confirmed that he really wants to play. “I feel very good,” continued the former Barcelona player. “I am very well physically, good condition. I think I arrive here in very good shape both personally and physically. I have no problems of any kind. I heard there were rumors about having to miss part of training or training apart from the team due to a knock. No, they were just precautions, nothing strange or out of the ordinary.”
Messi, who left Barcelona last summer after 21 years at the club, was asked if he had prepared for the World Cup in Qatar differently from others after previously failing to lift the trophy. But he replied: “No. It’s a different period in the season: we haven’t played that many games yet and I feel good. I just took care of myself.
“I am aware that this is a very special moment. It is very likely that it will be my last World Cup, the last chance to make my dream come true, our dream. But other than that, nothing special.”
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And the player added: “[I feel] maybe a little more mature. I think I’m really enjoying it a lot more now. Before maybe I didn’t think about it, I just wanted to play. But now I’m trying to enjoy it.
“I’m always excited, I always want more and I always want to try again to win this competition. We don’t have to think about the past. We have to try again and hopefully we can do it.”
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