Lionel Messi has stated that he believes it will be challenging for Argentina to win the Copa America this year as the national side is 'going through a process of change'.
Argentina have reached four of the last five Copa America finals and fallen to defeat in all of them, including consecutive defeats to Chile on penalties in the last two.
Their Copa America journey in Brazil begins against Colombia on June 15 before the rest of their fixtures against Paraguay and first time guest competitors Qatar.
Argentina will remain favourites along with Brazil for the tournament, no doubt due to the diminutive maestro Messi's presence in the squad.
Lionel Messi after Argentina's defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa America Final (Image Credit: PA)
However, ahead of the tournament, the Barca captain has played down Argentina's chances of adding to their 14 Copa America victories.
Per Argentine outlet TyC Sport (as quoted in ESPN FC), he has explained, "We are not candidates like other times. We will go with the same dreams and excitement as always, but the reality is that Argentina is going through a process of change."
Despite his glittering club career which has seen him establish himself as an all time great, Messi has lost four finals with Argentina, including three Copa America and one World Cup.
The Argentine's have not won an international title since the 1993 Copa America Final, where they beat Mexico 2-1.
Following their defeat to Chile in 2016, Messi called time on his Argentina career before returning to aid qualification for the 2018 World Cup, where they were knocked out in the round-of-16 by eventual winners France.
Messi and N'Golo Kante jostle for possesion at the World Cup last year (Photo Credit: PA)
Despite this, the 31-year-old has enjoyed a fruitful season at club level, scoring 36 goals and assisting 13 times in 34 La Liga games as Barcelona romped to another domestic title.
Per ESPN FC, Messi said he feels physically ready ahead of the tournament this summer, but he acknowledged the 4-3 aggregate defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final was a blow
"(I am) more tired and frustrated in the head than with the physical aspect, more than anything because of the Champions (League) elimination. It's been the fewest minutes I've played in the last years, I feel fine."
Featured Image Credit: Image Credit: PA