Sergio Aguero and Marcos Rojo lead the way as Argentina put the finishing touches on their Copa America preparations
Sergio Aguero and Marcos Rojo led a host of Premier League stars as the Argentina squad underwent their penultimate training session before the Copa America 2016 officially kicks off.
The squad, which also includes Tottenham’s Erik Lamela, Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi, Everton’s Ramiro Funes Mori and Manchester United’s Sergio Romero, looked in high spirits as they were put through their paces at their San Jose State University base camp.
Host nation USA will kick off the tournament against Colombia in Santa Clara on Saturday whilst Argentina will not begin their campaign until Tuesday, where they will face Chile in a repeat of last year’s final.
Sergio Aguero led a host of Premier League stars as the Argentina squad underwent their final preparations
Marcos Rojo (right) laughs as he shows one of his many tattoos to the team’s coaching staff
ARGENTINA GROUP D FIXTURES
7th June (3pm) : Chile
11th June (2.30am): Panama
15th June (3am): Bolivia
Ballon d’Or holder Lionel Messi continued his absence as he deals with a back injury and a well documented tax fraud court case back in Spain.
Fellow South American Roque Santa Cruz, who is not in Paraguay’s final squad for the Copa, believes the Barcelona legend needs to end his wait for a major international trophy at the tournament.
Messi has won every team and individual award available to him at the Camp Nou but has continued to face criticism for his performances with the national team.
Cruz believes that criticism is unfair but admits it will not cease until the 28-year-old can gift the Argentine supporters with a trophy.
The Albiceleste have been listed as favourites for the centenary version of the Copa America
Rodrigo Funes Mori (left) and Matias Kranevitter (right) pump fists during a high-spirited session
The rest of the squad watch on as PSG star Angel Di Maria shows off his famous ball control
Argentina will begin their go at the trophy when they face holders Chile in a repeat of last year’s final on June 7
‘I think Messi found his place – I think it is the Argentine public’s pressure that still talks about a Messi that is not the same one at Barcelona,’ the former City man told Omnisport.
‘Having seen him at different tournaments and competitions I can say that he is always one of the best and performs at a high level.
‘But he still must win a title with Argentina to be close to what the Argentine public think he can achieve.’
Lionel Messi leaves the courthouse on Thursday after giving evidence for the first time over tax fraud charges
Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz believes Lionel Messi must win a major international tournament