Cartagena, Colombia, Dec 4: Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni said that he hopes the 2020 Copa America won't be Lionel Messi's last appearance in football's oldest national team competition.
The Barcelona forward will turn 33 during the 47th edition of the tournament but Scaloni suggested that Argentina's record scorer could still be around in 2024. "I don't know if it will be his last Copa America, hopefully not," the Albiceleste boss on Tuesday told reporters after the group stage draw ceremony in Cartagena, on Colombia's Caribbean coast. Messi is still aiming for his first major trophy with Argentina, having been a part of the Albiceleste teams that finished as runners up at the 2014 World Cup, 2015 Copa America and 2016 Copa America.
Argentina are bidding for their first major tournament success since the 1993 Copa America, the 2008 Olympic gold notwithstanding. "Argentina - not just Lionel Messi - needs the title," Scaloni said. "I can't promise anything but we are going to do everything we can to reach the final," he added. After receiving his sixth Ballon d'Or award on Monday, Messi admitted that retirement was "getting closer", though he also said that he intends to keep playing for "many more years".
Next year's Copa America, which will run from June 12 to July 12, will be co-hosted by Colombia and Argentina. Argentina will open the tournament against Chile on June 12 and will also face guests Australia, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay in Group A. Group B will feature Colombia, defending champions Brazil, guests Qatar, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador. The final will be played on June 12 at the Estadio Metropolitano, in the Colombian port city of Barranquilla. (UNI-XINHUA)