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America's patience paying off

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Messi named Argentina captain

Argentina head coach Alejandro Sabella has sung the praises of Lionel Messi after confirming the Barcelona star as the nation's new captain.

Messi has recently struggled to replicate his club form at Barcelona for his country Argentina, failing to shine at last year's World Cup and at this summer's Copa America.

Sabella, who succeeded Sergio Batista as manager of Argentina this month, has now acted by talking up the 24-year-old's quality and by handing him the skipper's armband, which was previously worn by Javier Mascherano, ahead of their meeting with Venezuela on Friday.

He told Ole: "We have to be thankful that we have Messi, the best player in the world and a man who loves to play for his country. It is hard for Messi to play badly, he always plays well. But the most important thing is to be grateful that we have him with us and leave him be so that he is happy.

"We can't think that Messi can win games on his own, or ask why he plays in one way for Barcelona and another for us. We have to stop thinking that he doesn't sing the anthem, let's think that he is with us. He went to Spain very young."

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