The Greatest: Angel di Maria hails Argentina captain Lionel Messi

Messi was named skipper of his country in August 2011 by head coach Alejandro Sabella, and will lead a team fancied by many as potential tournament winners to this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

And Di Maria – who, alongside Messi and the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain, provides Argentina with a fearsome attacking line-up – has backed the captain to shine at this year’s tournament.

“It was our choice who wears the captain”s armband and we chose Messi,” the Real Madrid man told AS.

“Hopefully he has a great World Cup. He’s a fantastic player, and as a person, a great friend and a very good team-mate. He’s a great captain.

“We all want the team to go well. The group is very united and we worked hard to get here. We want to continue down this path.

“I tell the same story (about meeting Messi for the first time). When he went to the Olympics and I met him he was strong. Everyone was talking about Leo.

“He was already a dangerous player and I was next on the pitch. I like having him as a team-mate.”

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