Messi: Argentina deserve to be Copa America champions


Lionel Messi believes Argentina "deserve" to win a major title as the side prepare to contest the special-edition Copa America Centenario in the United States next month. 

Argentina lost last year's final to Chile on penalties, just 12 months after suffering heartbreak against Germany in the 2014 World Cup decider in Brazil. 

The South American nation have made three out of the last four Copa America finals but finished runners-up on each occasion, and have not won the tournament since 1993. 

However, Messi believes it is time Argentina finally tasted success after 23 years without a major trophy.

"We will try our best to win the Copa, because for us it is very important," the Barcelona star told Sports Illustrated. 

"More so, it has been a very long time since Argentina has not won anything, and this group came very close in the World Cup and at the last Copa America.

"I think we deserve to be champions of an important competition."

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner added: "It is a special Copa America, because it is going to be played in the United States - a unique country.

"It is the best possible location for the tournament, with amazing stadiums and with a lot of people set to go to the games. 

"It is an opportunity we must make the most of."

Argentina kick-off their tournament with a rematch of last year's final against Chile on June 6, before facing fellow Group D opponents Panama on June 10 and Bolivia four days later.