Lionel Messi 'exhausted'

Argentina’s fitness coach Fernando Signorini has told the Spanish press that his hopes of Lionel Messi being the best player at the World Cup are likely to be stifled by the tiredness that has come from playing such a long, gruelling season with Barcelona, in which he was their key player and top goalscorer, despite playing on the wing.

‘He has arrived at the World Cup tired, the damage is already done and it's irreversible,’ Signorini said. ‘(The organisers) worry about the doping controls but not if players play 70 matches a year.’

Messi, for his part, doesn’t seem too worried, and despite missing Argentina’s 5-0 hammering of Canada last month due to what the Argentine camp are saying is a minor knee injury (in fact, he hasn’t played for his national team since 3 March – against Germany in Munich), he say he’s fit and ready for the tournament, although he warns against assuming he can do it all on his own.

‘No one wins alone and I'm not going to win a World Cup alone,’ he said, pointing to the constant comparisons to Maradona and the 1986 World Cup. ‘I don't even do things alone at Barcelona. Here it's the same, we have to make the most of the very great players we have.

‘To win the World Cup would not compare with anything. I think I'm in the best form of my career. And it's also the best of the squad in general. We felt we needed to be together and now what's left is to win the World Cup, which is Argentina's obligation.’

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