Where's Messi? Tributes missing in his native Argentina city

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The 30-year-old was in typically sublime form this season as Barca marched to their latest domestic double and he will now lead Argentina's bid for World Cup glory in Russian Federation.

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 a year ago was enough to see them secure a finals spot.

"I have great faith in this group, we are working very well, we have players with a lot of capacity and experience", continued Messi.

Since an extra-time defeat to Germany four years in the World Cup final, Argentina have lost two Copa America finals, too, both times on penalties against Chile. "Qualification [for the World Cup] was not easy but we made it. We can not send the message that we are the best, because that's not true".

Messi has won multiple Champions League and Club World Cup titles with Barca.

Messi scored a hat trick and set up Sergio Aguero for the other goal as Argentina began their preparations for this summer's World Cup with a resounding 4-0 friendly win against Haiti on Tuesday. "I've always said that I want to play someday in Argentina".

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But he said: "From a sporting point of view, I would have preferred to play in Barcelona. I'd like to do that for at least six months, but you never know what is going to happen". "That's where it all stems from, but at no time did the thought or any doubts cross my mind".

He said that Argentina will have to go into the later matches - against Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria on the 26th - with the same attitude.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is the team's primary goal scoring threat and will have a key role to play if Croatia are to advance beyond the group stage for the first time since finishing third at the 1998 World Cup.

It has been revealed that Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, was pressurised into including injured Moses Simon on the list of players traveling to London ahead of the friendly game against England scheduled for this weekend.

When you have a player like Messi in your ranks, naturally, you're going to be considered as one of the favourites.