Belo Horizonte, Jun 30: Brazil defender Thiago Silva said Saturday that his team must quell the impact of Lionel Messi to have any chance of beating Argentina in their Copa America semi-final here on Tuesday.
Messi has scored just one goal - a penalty in the Albiceleste's 1-1 draw with Paraguay - in four matches this tournament but Silva believes the 32-year-old could recapture his best form at any time."Whenever I've played against him it's always been difficult," the Paris Saint-Germain center-back said in an interview published by O Globo newspaper on Saturday.
"It doesn't matter how much you study him. You can never understand the quality that he possesses. He is capable of anything. As a central defender I have to do my homework but it's difficult to know what he's going to do on the pitch."Argentina advanced to the last four in Brazil after a 2-0 victory over Venezuela on Friday while the hosts progressed by beating Paraguay on penalties in their quarterfinal on Thursday.
Silva described Messi as the best player he has seen, rating him above any other contemporaries."I didn't see Pele, Zico or Maradona so I can't speak about them. The only one I've seen play the way Messi plays is Messi himself. I saw Ronaldinho, I was his teammate, I saw Ronaldo Fenomeno, I played with Seedorf, but Messi has no equal."
Silva has formed an impressive central defensive partnership with his PSG teammate Marquinhos in this tournament and the hosts are yet to concede a goal in four matches. Argentina, meanwhile, have let in three goals in four games. However Silva and his teammates are paying no attention to those statistics.
"Argentina are Argentina," he said. "We have to make sure we don't let our concentration slip because, if Messi has the ball at his feet, they are in a dangerous position," Silva added. (UNI-Xinhua)