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Rivaldo issues Brazil a warning over Lionel Messi threat

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Rivaldo warned Brazil over a potential Copa America encounter against Argentina and Lionel Messi, who “comes out on top in these big games”.

Messi will be all fired up for Argentina’s quarter-final against Venezuela on Friday after helping them narrowly avoid a humiliating group-stage exit.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who turned 32 on Monday, is desperate to taste success this summer with Argentina following three final defeats which have denied him a trophy at international level.

And Rivaldo warned Brazil, who will take on Paraguay in their own quarter-final tie on Friday, over the threat Messi will pose for Argentina should they meet in the semi-finals.

“It certainly won’t be an easy route to the final, but when you have Messi… anything is possible!” said Rivaldo, according to Marca.

“Messi comes out on top in these big games. It’s there when Argentine need him most and Leo knows how to respond to these challenges.”

When quizzed on why Messi hasn’t won silverware on the international stage, Rivaldo replied: “He has been unlucky in his big games with Argentina.

“In the World Cup final in 2014 and the Copa America finals against Chile, he didn’t have the luck that we [Brazil] had against Germany in 2002.

“It’s much easier to play for your club that for your country because there’s a lack of routine and your teammates are constantly changing.”

The 1999 Copa America winner also voiced his support behind Neymar’s attempts to join Messi back at Barcelona this summer.

Blaugrana vice-president Jordi Cardoner confirmed on Thursday the forward’s desire for a Camp Nou return. Although he didn’t state whether or not they plan to re-sign him.

Furthermore, Xavi Hernandez’s father, Joaquim, also suggested not many fans will welcome him back after his dramatic exit two years ago.

“The best thing for him is to return, apologise to the fans in some way and show people that you regret what happened,” Rivaldo continued.

“At the end of the day, he’ll feel better at Barcelona I’m sure and he’ll be able to play his best football [there].”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JULY 22: Neymar #11 and Lionel Messi #10 of Barcelona warm up before the International Champions Cup 2017 on July 22, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)