Brazil will feel the loss of Neymar, says Sampaoli

Lionel Messi appeared to be in a focused mood on the eve of Argentina's mouth-watering friendly with Brazil in Melbourne on Friday.

Argentina now need him to call on that experience in order to get their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track.

Argentina players train before the Superclasico.

Despite Messi and Otamendi's absence, the Argentina team travelling to Singapore will still feature several established stars such as Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria.

Brazil star Fernandinho declared there are no such thing as "friendlies" between the South American powerhouses.

"He is a very important player and definitely he is one of the best players in the world, so Brazil are going to feel the loss", Sampaoli told reporters.

The weird situation adds intrigue and tension, with their last camp ending with the sacking of Edgardo Bauza after a 2-0 loss to Bolivia, which left Argentina in fifth - which is a playoff spot - and 11 points behind leaders Brazil.

There has been a quite a lot of buzz around the tie in the Lion City despite Singapore taking on Chinese Taipei in the all-important AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier on Saturday.

"However Brazil has really good players able to pick up the team's performance without him".

Lanzini said of his national team captain Messi, "He is the best player in the world and we are lucky as he is Argentinean".

But Argentinian newspaper Clarin is reporting that both Messi and defender Nicolas Otamendi will skip the trip to Singapore to prepare for their prospective weddings.

The statement read: "We are now working with the Argentinian FA to determine the authenticity of the claims made in these reports and will provide an update as soon as we are able to".

Those incidents have raised alert levels around the world and the Chelsea attacking-midfielder admitted he was concerned about another attack during their upcoming games against Argentina and the Socceroos. "There are people responsible to take care of our safety and we have to be prepared for the game and not think about that".

Argentina's football manager Jorge Sampaoli speaks at a press conference in Melbourne.

  • Salvatore Jensen