Saturday 4 July 2015

Ruggeri: Messi Ready To Leave Mark On Copa America Final

The ex-Albiceleste ace believes the four-time Ballon d'Or winner will ensure Gerard Martino's men are crowned South American champions in Santiago.

Former Argentina defender Oscar Ruggeri feels that the side stand a good chance of achieving Copa America glory against Chile on Saturday because Lionel Messi has found his very best form just in time for the final.
The Barcelona star had been well shackled for most of the tournament but then dominated his country's semi-final clash against Paraguay on Tuesday, recording three assists as they romped to a 6-1 victory.
After watching the captain's performance against the Albirroja, Ruggeri - who won the World Cup in 1986 and Copa titles in 1991 and 1993 - now expects the 28-year-old to shine in Santiago.
"When we played in 1991, we didn't have [Diego] Maradona [who was suspended] and now they have [Lionel] Messi,” he said at a press conference.
"Messi is being marked by three or four, so he's emerging and it was possible to see that in the last goal against Paraguay. 
“There is much talk about Messi, but we have [Angel] Di Maria and [Sergio] Aguero, who is a player who occupies the empty spaces left by opponents. [Javier] Pastore seems to be the big character of Argentina.
“In addition, I believe the bench in Argentina is not normal. You look around and have many options. You look to the bench and see [Carlos] Tevez and [Gonzalo] Higuain, who can come in and play at the same level. 
Argentina contest the showpiece event with hosts Chile, whose star playmaker Jorge Valdivia is tied with Messi for the tournament lead in assists, but Ruggeri played down any comparisons given their different styles.
“In my country they always do comparisons about who is better, Messi or Maradona, but to compare Messi and Valdivia is even worse because they are different players,” he continued.
The ex-Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo man also felt that the familiarity of the Argentine squad with one another could make the difference in the final.
“We can be champions but remember that this is a final and anything could happen, as the teams that reached the final are the best,” he said.
"Martino did well to keep the base, because the players have known each other a long time and I believe they can be successful tomorrow.


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