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Angel Di Maria defends Lionel Messi’s Copa America displays

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Angel Di Maria insists that team-mate Lionel Messi has performed “very well” for Argentina in this summer’s Copa America.

Messi’s displays in Brazil have failed to reach the same heights as to what he achieves on a weekly basis at Barcelona. Therefore, critics have wasted no time in hammering him for failing to deliver once again on the big stage.

Ironically, the 32-year-old has matched last summer’s World Cup tally of just one goal from four matches in this year’s Copa America.

Messi confessed himself that he’s not been at the top of his game in Brazil following another lacklustre outing against Venezuela. While he couldn’t break past the opposition defence, though, Argentina still won the quarter-final tie 2-0.

But Di Maria insists Messi continues to do a “good job” as he chases that elusive first international trophy.

“I think Leo is doing things very well,” said Di Maria, according to Yahoo.

“He’s not scoring goals like he usually does, but I think he’s doing a good job.

“He’s running and he’s giving everything. He has to keep running and then the rest will come. I think he is doing very well.”

Although La Albiceleste will be hoping Messi is in top form for next Tuesday’s semi-final showdown with South American rivals Brazil.

The Selecao narrowly scrapped through their own quarter-final tie after beating Paraguay 4-3 on penalties following a goalless draw.

“With Brazil, it’s a complicated game, but I think all the teams make it difficult for you,” continued Di Maria.

“Brazil will play as our equals and they will have the home support. We have to try to play our way, do what we did against Venezuela and, hopefully, things will go well.”

Di Maria made his 100th appearance for Argentina on Friday after replacing goalscorer Lautaro Martinez in the 64th-minute.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JUNE 28: Angel Di Maria of Argentina controls the ball during the Copa America Brazil 2019 quarterfinal match between Argentina and Venezuela at Maracana Stadium on June 28, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)