Article

Menezes lauds Messi ahead of friendly

8 June 2012 00:43

Brazil coach Mano Menezes has paid Argentina striker Lionel Messi the ultimate compliment.

Menezes described Messi as the best player in the world ahead of Saturday's international friendly between the arch-rivals in New Jersey.

The Brazil coach needs no reminding of the Barcelona forward's ability, but after watching a recording of the diminutive No.10 in action in last weekend's World Cup qualifying victory over Ecuador, he is acutely aware of the need to starve the three-time Ballon d'Or winner of possession.

"We will play against the best in the world," Menezes told ESPN Brasil.

"He has great individual ability and the ball simply cannot reach him with the same freedom that it did during their clash with Ecuador.

"Another problem we have is that Argentina is already up to competitive pace (whereas Brazil have only been playing friendlies). We must be prepared for a tough game."

Menezes is satisfied with how things have progressed in Brazil's build-up to the 2014 World Cup.

"I am very pleased with the work done," the 49-year-old said.

"Hopefully we will confirm our evolution against a great opponent.

"If we exhibit the same attitude in this type of game, the team will have taken a further step towards confirming that we are on track and will be properly prepared for the Olympics."

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