Messi simply the best: Colombia coach

Vina del Mar (Chile), June 26 (IANS) Star striker Lionel Messi is “quite simply the best player in the world”, Colombia coach Jose Pekerman has claimed ahead of his side’s Copa America football quarter-final clash with Argentina.

The two sides meet here on Friday in the last eight, and while Messi has not been in top form thus far in the tournament Pekerman believes the star remains the toughest of propositions.

“Messi is quite simply the best player in the world and Argentina have played in the same way that they did at the World Cup,” Pekerman told a pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“They have some new elements that are contributing much to the team too, with Gerardo Martino beginning to implement his plan for them.”

Colombia have been struck by a number of injuries and suspensions of late, with key players Carlos Bacca, Carlos Sanchez and Edwin Valencia all out of the Argentina tie, but Pekerman has faith in his squad’s ability to overcome their bad luck.

“It is not the first time we have suffered such disadvantages with injuries and absences in the team. We’re used to dealing with difficult situations, and we are looking forward to a good game.

We are eager to really participate in this game. We have talent in all positions, so we know we have enough,” he said.

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