Messi arrives in Argentina to start World Cup preparations

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Buenos Aires, May 22 (IANS) Argentine national team captain Leo Messi arrived in Buenos Aires on Tuesday to start training for the Russia 2018 World Cup.

The striker arrived from Spain, landing in the Ministro Pistarini International Airport, southwest of Buenos Aires, from where he drove straight to the Argentine national team’s training ground, reports Efe.

“Our captain Lionel Messi is now at the Ezeiza training ground. Welcome Leo!,” the Argentine national team posted on its Twitter account.

On Monday, coach Jorge Sampaoli presented the list of 23 Argentine players who would compete in the World Cup this year, which includes Messi, Paulo Dybala, Franco Armani and Cristian Ansaldi, although not Mauro Icardi nor Ricardo Centurion.

During a press conference, Sampaoli said that the team captain is “very enthusiastic.”

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“Physically, he is in good shape. Having won La Liga before starting training means he will not have to expend so much effort. He will be in good shape for the World Cup,” he said.

Argentina will play against Haiti on May 29 at the Boca Juniors stadium in Buenos Aires, before travelling to play a friendly against Israel on June 9.

The Argentine national team is expected to arrive in Russia on June 10, playing against Iceland in their debut match on June 16, in Moscow’s Otkrytie Arena.

–IANS

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