SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile will not try to man-mark Argentina’s playmaker Lionel Messi out of the Copa America final but will concentrate on playing their own quick-fire passing game, captain and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo said on Thursday.
Bravo knows Messi well from their past season together at Barcelona and acknowledged the Argentine would be difficult to stop on Saturday.
“It’s not easy, given Leo’s ability. If you look at what he’s done in his career, it’s been incredible, but we’re not going to put a man on him for the 90 minutes of the match,” Bravo told a news conference at Chile’s training camp in Santiago. “He’s not the only one playing. We have to worry about Argentina as a whole, not just Leo.” Saturday’s tie will bring Bravo face to face with another Barcelona team mate — Argentine defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano.
“It’s a privilege to play against two of my club team mates. I hope they don’t play like they often do for my club team,” he joked.
“Javier is the heart of the side, and they (Argentina) have a great team — not just Leo and Javier, they have a lot of great players.”
Bravo is hoping to be the first Chilean captain ever to lift the Copa America while Argentina are looking for a record-equalling 15th title
Reporting by Gideon Long, editing by Clare Lovell