Lionel Messi admits he struggled to keep up with intensity of Brazil clash after making return from injury for Argentina

LIONEL MESSI admitted he struggled to keep up with the ferocious pace of last night's Argentina vs Brazil clash.

The 34-year-old has been injured of late, missing Paris Saint-Germain's recent clash with Bordeaux after being substituted at half-time against Lille.


He made his return from the bench against Uruguay last week, as Argentina managed a 1-0 victory over their South American rivals.

And he was thrust into the starting XI as they faced group leaders and old enemies Brazil.

He couldn't conjure a winner, however, as the match ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

After the match, skipper Messi admitted: "We knew it was going to be this way, a locked match, difficult to play.

"I arrived with just enough, mostly because of the rhythm, and this was a very intense game.

"I'm fine, otherwise I wouldn't have played.

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"I've been standing for a long time and it's not easy to play with the pace that this meeting demanded.

"From the beginning we were convinced that we could win.

"We tried to play and sometimes we couldn't.

"The important thing is that we are doing well, we didn't lose and we continue to grow."

Despite their Copa America triumph at Brazil's expense in the summer, Lionel Scaloni's side trail the Selecao by six points in World Cup qualifying.

The two South American heavyweights make up the top two, while Ecuador and Colombia currently occupy the other two automatic qualification spots.

Peru are fifth and would face a play-off as it stands, although the likes of Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia are within two points of them.

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