Lionel Messi has nothing to prove for Argentina - Sergio Romero
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero says it is good for his team that birthday boy Lionel Messi still has records yet to break, while Carlos Tevez says his erstwhile teammates deserve to win Sunday's Copa America Centenario final against Chile.
Messi, who turned 29 on Friday, has played 531 senior games and scored 453 goals while winning four Ballon d'Or awards and 28 trophies with Barcelona including four Champions Leagues and eight La Liga titles.
However, with Argentina he has just two trophies -- an Under-20 World Cup in 2005 and Olympic Gold in 2008. Although that could change should Messi lead his team to victory in Sunday's Copa decider against holders Chile in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Messi's free kick in Tuesday's 4-0 semifinal victory over the USA brought him to 55 international goals, passing the mark previously held by Albiceleste legend Gabriel Batistuta.
And in an interview with AS, the Manchester United goalkeeper said that Messi always having new records to break was great for Argentina, although the skipper had nothing left to prove to his teammates.
"We are very happy for him," Romero said. "It is good for us that there are still records for Messi to break, and to keep showing he is the best in the world. He has nothing left to prove to us, because we know he is the best, our No. 10, our captain."
Romero added that Messi's superb free kick against the U.S. had been unstoppable, and typical of his talent.
"It was impossible [to save]," he said. "I watched it back many times. He put it right in the angle, in the smallest space. But watching Messi, everything he does is impossible."
In recent summers Argentina have lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany, then the 2015 Copa America to Chile, with Sunday's decider in the Centenario tournament now offering a chance for both relief and revenge.
"We are happy and do not care that it is Chile as the rival," Romero said. "We need to show it is not coincidence that we have reached three finals in three years. Unfortunately the first two escaped us, due to small details. We see this as a new opportunity and hope to win this one. We need to win to reaffirm what we are doing. We are relaxed about it."
Meanwhile, 76-times capped Tevez has been watching the Copa America from afar, with the Boca Juniors forward, 32, having been left out of the squad by national coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino.
Tevez said that the current squad including Messi and Javier Mascherano deserved to win what would be their country's first big international trophy since the 1993 Copa America.
"Messi, Masche, all this group of Argentina players deserve to be champions," Tevez said. "And I hope these lads get it. I will say it again -- they deserve it."
Tevez played in the 2015 tournament, winning a third career international runners-up medal, and said he did not feel bitter about potentially missing out when this side finally lift a trophy.
"It is not the same to watch it on the TV," he said. "I do not feel that my time with the national team is over yet, I feel part of it still. But Tata made his decision. I am still happy for all the lads. I hope that, after so long, they can be champions."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan