Roberto Carlos issues warning to Lionel Messi as Argentina icon chases supremacy

BARRIO (Mirror) – Roberto Carlos has warned Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammates not to underestimate Brazil at next summer’s Copa America, as the world champions gear up to defend their crown.

Five-time world champions, Brazil, endured a tough campaign in Qatar, crashing out in on penalties in the quarter-finals to Croatia. Brazil then underwent regime change, with Tite’s six-year reign coming to an end, being replaced by caretaker Ramon Menezes, and then Fernando Diniz on an interim basis.

Reports suggest that Brazil are holding out hope of snapping up Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti in 2024 when his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu expires.

Star man Neymar may not be at his best either come next summer, with the 31-year-old not expected to recover from his horror ACL injury until mid-2024.

Brazil sits sixth in their 2026 World Cup qualification and young stars such as Vinicius Jr have just three senior goals for his country, who desperately need him, and Rodrygo to fill Neymar’s boots.

A 1-0 loss to Argentina inside the Maracana in November wouldn’t have done much good for Brazil’s confidence either.

The lack of stability in the Brazilian national team setup puts defending Copa America champions Argentina, led by Messi, as favourites to retain the South American crown next summer.

However, Brazil and Real Madrid legend and 2002 World Cup winner, Carlos, has warned Argentina not to write his country off ahead of the tournament.

“Never underestimate the Brazilian national team, I speak from experience,” Carlos told Mirror Sport at the Web Summit in Lisbon last month, where he was promoting his hate-free social media platform, Striver, alongside fellow Brazil great Gilberto Silva, and CEO Tim Chase.

“We’ve got a new manager now and we just need to give him some time to work. We have great players and a good manager, I’m sure Copa America will be competitive and very exciting.”

Argentina are the Copa America and World Cup holders

The 2024 Copa America and perhaps the 2026 World Cup will be the final dance for many of Argentina’s current stars.

Angel Di Maria announced that next summer’s tournament would be his last for his country, bowing out an eternal legend. Manager Lionel Scaloni has also hinted that Copa America could be his last in charge.

Messi, meanwhile, has accomplished everything football has had to offer: League and domestic titles in Spain, France and now the United States, four Champions Leagues, nearly 2,000 goal contributions for Club and country, eight Ballon d’Or trophies, a Copa America, and a World Cup.

Messi joined Inter Miami in the summer

The 2024 Copa America and perhaps the 2026 World Cup will be the final dance for many of Argentina’s current stars.

Angel Di Maria announced that next summer’s tournament would be his last for his country, bowing out an eternal legend. Manager Lionel Scaloni has also hinted that Copa America could be his last in charge.

Messi, meanwhile, has accomplished everything football has had to offer: League and domestic titles in Spain, France and now the United States, four Champions Leagues, nearly 2,000 goal contributions for Club and country, eight Ballon d’Or trophies, a Copa America, and a World Cup.

The football legend left PSG earlier this year for David Beckham’s Inter Miami in the MLS for a less intense experience, with nothing left to prove. 

Beckham and Carlos were teammates and good friends at Real, and the Brit’s impact on US soccer has been undeniable, in the iconic left-back’s mind.

Becks played in the US for LA Galaxy between 2007 and 2012 before becoming the co-owner of an expansion franchise, Inter Miami, in 2018.

Carlos says Beckham’s impact on MLS is undeniable

Inter Miami has been able to attract a number of top stars from today’s generation. Messi was joined by former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba in the summer.

Before the former Barca trio arrived in the Sunshine State, Gonzalo Higuain was strutting around Miami but the ex-Argentine striker, who played in the 2014 World Cup Final loss to Germany in 2014, retried in 2022.

“David is doing an amazing job in Miami and he is definitely contributing to the growth of football in the country,” Carlos concluded.

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