Lionel Messi is going to have a particularly challenging summer. His holidays officially started yesterday, but in a few days’ time he must join his Argentinean teammates to begin their preparation for the 2011 Copa America. Held in Argentina, his countrymen will be expecting the best of him to help the team lift the cup. Yet another challenge for him this season.
Messi will report to los Albiceleste’s camp on June 8 with the friendly against Paraguay on the 20th being the first game when he is expected to play.
Argentina, in Group A, will begin its journey in the Copa America on July 1 against Bolivia [July 2 CET], before facing Colombia and Costa Rica on the 6th and 11th respectively.
Should Batista’s men get past the group stage, the quarter-finals will be played on the 16th. The semi-finals on the 19th – 20th and the final on the 24th, with the third place playoff held the day before that. All in all, that is 7 potential official games for Messi to participate in during his ‘break’ after more than 50 that he played for FC Barcelona this season.
After his stint with los Albiceleste Messi is expected to return to Barcelona on August 3, with barely 18 days of rest in all in between commitments.
Though it may seem torturous for the player, he himself has stated he would not want to miss out on the chance to impress his countrymen after a rather disappointing World Cup last summer.
On the plus side, if he is used sparingly by Batista and free of injury, Messi will still be at his best coming into the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid on August 14 and 17, hence the start of next season’s campaign.