(Reuters) – Argentina striker Lionel Messi confessed on Sunday that he worries about contracting COVID-19, a day earlier than he kicks off one other Copa America with the nationwide facet amid a spate of infections amongst rival groups.
Gamers or officers from Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela examined constructive for the virus even earlier than the South American event kicked off on Sunday night in Brasilia.
Messi, who will line up for Argentina of their opener towards Chile in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, stated the worry of contracting the virus was widespread within the squad.
“It worries us as a result of it’s a threat for everybody catching COVID,” he informed reporters. “We attempt to watch out nevertheless it’s not simple. This stuff occur.”
“We’ll attempt to do all we are able to so nobody will get it however generally it does not rely solely on ourselves.”
Messi is just not believed to have been vaccinated, regardless that the South American Soccer Confederation stated in April it had acquired vaccinations and aimed to present all worldwide gamers photographs earlier than the Copa America kicked off.
Argentina was because of host this yr’s Copa America however withdrew on the final minute because of a surge of COVID-19 circumstances. The event was moved to Brazil, regardless that the demise toll there may be greater than anyplace outdoors the US.
Though organizers declare they put strict protocols in place, Venezuela misplaced eight gamers to constructive checks earlier than the event’s opening match towards Brazil on Sunday and Bolivia misplaced three.
The inexperienced Venezuelans went down 3-0, with Marquinhos, Neymar and Gabriel Barbosa scoring for the host nation.
Brazil gained this event two years in the past, beating Argentina within the semi-final in a controversial match, and Messi stated he was determined to lastly replicate his membership success at worldwide stage.
“I feel that is the time to strike a blow and the possibility might come on this Copa America,” stated the Barcelona ahead and six-time winner of one of the best participant on the planet award.
“My huge dream is to win a title with the nationwide crew. I used to be very shut on many events and sadly it did not work out. I’ll hold going till I am unable to any extra.”
“I have been fortunate sufficient to win every part at a membership stage and on a person stage and it could be stunning to win with the nationwide crew as effectively.”
(Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo in Buenos Aires, writing by Andrew Downie; Enhancing by Himani Sarkar)