Argentina players train as city awaits Messi`s arrival

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2011, 22:26 PM IST

Kolkata: The much-awaited Lionel Messi moment is round the corner as the organisers on Tuesday confirmed that the Argentine superstar will land here in the wee hours on Tuesday at 3.10 am along with his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano.

In Messi`s absence, the Albicelestes, gearing up for their international friendly against Venezuela here on September 2, had a light practice session at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

The goalkeeping trio of Sergio Romero, Mariano And?jar and Estaban Andrada underwent some routine practices on the stadium turf, while the others who have already arrived, did some stretching exercises in the hotel.

"The ball room has been converted into a training hall and they are doing light exercises and practices there," Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of Celebrity Management Group, which is organising the match, said.

Goswami confirmed that Messi would arrive at 3.10 am on Tuesday, and will address the media along with coach Alejandro Sabella in the afternoon.

Meanwhile Romero, Andrada and Andjar practiced for about an hour along with three support staff.

The Argentine support staff tested the trio with light ground ball practice before shifting the focus to their diving skills.

Special attention was given to the lanky Andrada who was seen diving, stretching as senior pro Romero took it easy.

They spent about an hour at the stadium.

Earlier in the day Argentina`s star forwards Gonzalo Higuan and Sergio Aguero were among the 15 from the white and sky blue brigade who checked in along with 19 Venezuelans in different batches.

Coach Alejandro Sabella, deputy Julian Camino, were among the 18 members who arrived yesterday.

It`s a 51-member squad who will be coming for the two friendlies, against Venezuela, and Nigeria in Dhaka on September 6, which will mark Sabella`s debut as Argentina coach.

The Albicelestes` first official practice under Sabella will be held tomorrow evening with 15 minutes entry for media as it will be `closed door`.

PTI