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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Lionel Messi: Argentina still improving at Copa America Centenario

Lionel Messi insists Argentina will continue to grow at the Copa America Centenario, despite an impressive unbeaten run through the group stage of the competition.

The Barcelona superstar did not participate in the Albiceleste's Group D opening win against Chile because of back injury, but starred as a substitute in their 5-0 defeat of Panama and 3-0 defeat of Bolivia.

Entering the Copa, Argentina were seen as the favourites to end their 23-year senior trophy drought. And while Messi has already seen an evolution of the team in the tournament, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner maintains Gerardo Martino's side will continue to improve as the stakes increase. 

"As we move forward, we're going to grow," Messi told Ole.

"We are doing well in all aspects. We have already been working together for a while and have got to know the coaching staff, and they us.

"From the beginning until now, we have grown a lot."

Argentina have reached the final of the past two major tournaments they have disputed -- the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa America -- losing both. 

Lionel Messi with Argentina on bench at Copa America
Lionel Messi has started each of Argentina's matches from the bench thus far.

If they are to reach a third straight, they must first navigate a tricky quarterfinal matchup with Venezuela who, despite their low standing in the South American World Cup qualifiers, Messi says should not be underestimated.

"We are aware there is no margin for error. Very tough matches are coming," Messi said.

"Some think Venezuela are an easy opponent but they are not. We will not take anything for granted, we know what is at stake.

"If Venezuela have reached the quarterfinals it's on merit. No one gave them anything.

"They are not better than Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, obviously, but if Venezuela are there they deserve it."

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