Argentina star Lionel Messi has stated that he believes he will lift the World Cup in his career, and says he is relishing the pressure that comes with his side's status as hosts and favourites for the Copa America.
The Barcelona phenomenon is the standard-bearer for Sergio Batista's team, and is set to play a pivotal role throughout the tournament, which starts this evening with the Albiceleste's clash against Bolivia. Argentina also face Colombia and Costa Rica in Group A, and will be expected to progress into the knockout stage in first position.
Speaking just hours before the Copa opener, Messi admitted that he is desperate to win silverware with his nation, and sees no reason why he cannot start picking up titles.
"I want to win something with the Seleccion more than anybody, and I will do it," 'La Pulga' told Ole in an interview published on Friday morning.
"I don't know why, but I know that I will win a World Cup. That time will come and I will enjoy it immensely. I don't know why, but something tells me I will win it."
This year's tournament is Messi's second appearance at the Copa America after experiencing final disappointment against Brazil four years ago. Expectations are high in front of a local crowd, but the number 10 is looking forward to the challenge.
"The pressure to win titles is always there for Argentina. Doing it here in our country raises that a little. But it is a nice pressure... that of starting a new era. If we win the Copa we can start working towards our World Cup preparations in the next years," he affirmed. Messi also highlighted his development as a player since the 2007 tournament in Venezuela.
"I feel like I have changed a lot. I have grown up, and now it is my time, my moment to shine with the Seleccion. The years have gone by and every one has been better for me."
Messi and Argentina meet Bolivia in La Plata this evening, at 21:50 (01:50 BST).