Buenos Aires, May 28 (IANS) The Argentine national football team practiced before some 30,000 fans at the Huracan stadium, with the crowd – most of whom were children – enjoying seeing Leonel Messi and the rest of the squad coached by Jorge Sampaoli train for next month’s World Cup in Russia.
The team went through its warm-ups and drills for an hour under the gaze of children from elementary schools, football clubs, lower-income homes and neighbourhoods on Sunday, reports Efe.
The players performed all sorts of practice moves in a session featuring Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Nicolas Otamendi, although the latter engaged in a slightly different routine because of his groin injury.
When the session ended, the players gifted footballs and jerseys to some of the fans.
The negative note of the day was the injury to Marcos Acuña, who hurt his left knee, a situation that will require careful monitoring and therapy, according to the squad’s medical corps.
Defender Cristian Ansaldi told EFE that the open-to-the-public session “was a nice experience because it’s always good to make contact with the public, most of them kids, in the stadium.”
“We’re happy about the preparations for the World Cup and now the only thing left is the farewell match. It’s a great responsibility to represent Argentina, but we feel the support of our fans,” said Ansaldi, who plays for Italy’s Torino.
Sunday’s session will follow the Monday drill preceding the friendly match on Tuesday against Haiti in La Bombonera.
The next day, the team will depart for Spain to continue its training in Barcelona and on June 9 they will visit Israel for the last friendly before flying to Bronnitsy, near Moscow.