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Messi is skipper for Kolkata tie

Lionel Messi towered behind him in an Argentina shirt looking fashionably dishevelled. Julian Camino being seated accentuated the effect because the huge Messi banner nearly took up one wall of the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club.

sports Updated: Aug 20, 2011 00:16 IST
HT Correspondent

Lionel Messi towered behind him in an Argentina shirt looking fashionably dishevelled. Julian Camino being seated accentuated the effect because the huge Messi banner nearly took up one wall of the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club. Exactly 14 evenings later, the ex-Argentina right-back could be similarly hunched in the dugout as Messi struts his stuff at a soldout Yuba Bharati Krirangan. It could happen.

Looking flushed, perhaps because of a long day in the sun spent inspecting the stadium and a practice venue that the Mohun Bagan ground could be, Camino, beyond taking a dig at Pele, said little at his first media conference here as Argentina assistant-coach. If the idea behind this was to drum up enthusiasm for the September 2 tie against Venezuela, it didn’t work. The poster of Messi, named skipper for this tour, and a short film on street football in Kolkata did more.

Asked why Carlos Tevez was dropped for the friendlies (Argentina also play Nigeria in Dhaka on September 6) by coach Alejandro Sabella for Argentina’s first matches under the new coaching team, Camino, speaking through an interpreter, said: “That’s not for me to answer.”

Tevez, defender Javier Zanetti and Fernando Gago have been left out by Sabella while centre-back Martin Demichelis and Lucho Gonzales of Marseilles have been recalled.

Celebrity Managenment Group executive director Bhaswar Goswami said the Kolkata and Dhaka games would be shown on ESPN. “The match will be televised live in 152 countries,” he said.