Playing for Spain was never something I considered, says Messi

Playing for Spain was never something I considered, says Messi

Playing for Spain was never something I considered, says Messi

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has urged his compatriots to be realistic in their World Cup expectations, warning that other teams heading to Russian Federation are better.

At one stage Argentina didn't look capable of qualifying for the tournament, but a stunning hat-trick from Messi in a must-win game against Ecuador past year was enough to see them secure a finals spot. But we have players with talent and experience.

The South Americans have two final World Cup warm-up matches - against Saudi Arabia in Switzerland on Sunday and then against Sweden on 9 June in Gothenburg.

The victory was Peru's third in a row against European opposition following friendly wins over Croatia and Iceland and will fill them with optimism as they head to their first World Cup since 1982.

Although Argentina scored four goals and kept a clean sheet in the game, Messi has insisted that they are not among the favourites for the competition this time around.

"Let no one have doubts that we are going to try everything, as people always ask us".

The two-time world champions - who last won the showpiece event in 1986 - scraped into the tournament thanks to Messi's magic. "The other day I was talking to a friend and he told me "if you had chosen Spain, you'd be a World Cup victor already", but it wouldn't have been the same", he added.

"I would change a Barcelona title for one with the national team", Messi said.

"There's always a chance in tournament football [but] I'll be honest, I would be surprised if England and Belgium don't beat them", he said. "Obviously, it never crossed my mind at any time".

The VAR system will be rolled out for the first time at a World Cup at the June 14 to July 15 tournament in Russian Federation.

Argentina will travel to Barcelona later this week for a training camp before flying to Israel for their second and final friendly before the finals begin.

Argentina will face Iceland (June 16), Croatia (June 21) and Nigeria (June 26) in Group D at the World Cup, starting next month.

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