Lionel Messi prepares to lead Argentina into crunch Copa America quarter-final against Venezuela
- Argentina trained ahead of their Copa America quarter-final against Venezuela
- Messi is aiming to win a first ever international trophy with his country
- Group B runners-up have lost to Colombia, drew with Bolivia and beat Qatar
Lionel Messi cut a relaxed figure as Argentina prepared for their Copa America quarter-final clash with Venezuela.
The squad ran through a series of training drills at their base in Rio de Janeiro ahead of Friday’s fixture.
Argentina have endured a difficult tournament so far, losing 2-0 to Colombia in the opening match, before a 1-1 draw against Bolivia and only secured progress as runners-up in Group B by defeating Qatar 2-0.
Lionel Messi will be a pivotal figure for Argentina in their Copa America quarter-final clash
Los Albiceleste will face Venezuela in a bid to reach the competition’s semi-finals
Barcelona star Lionel Messi ran through a series of drills with his international team-mates
This year, any quarter-final match tied after 90 minutes will go directly to penalties, with extra-time to be reintroduced for the semi-finals and final.
The Barcelona star is aiming for a first trophy with his country, having reached the Copa America finals in 2007, 2015 and 2016.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero scored in the groupstage win over Qatar
The squad appeared relaxed as their shared a joke ahead of Friday’s showdown
Watford winger Roberto Pereyra is also a part of the Argentina squad for the tournament
In the first instance Los Albiceleste lost 3-0 to Brazil, before 2015 saw them eliminated by Chile on penalties where Messi was the only Argentinian to score.
A year later saw a repeat with Chile again lifting the trophy after a penalty shoot-out triumph.
Messi also tasted defeat against Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, and at 32, this tournament may prove to be one of his last chances to achieve international success.