Kolkata: Argentina captain and star forward Lionel Messi, who arrived in the wee hours on Wednesday, defied jet lag and fatigue to join his teammates for a full practice session under new coach Alejandro Sabella at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Wednesday.
During the team`s first full practice session, the Albicelestes slugged it out on the artificial turf of the stadium for more than an hour ahead of their FIFA International friendly against Venezuela here on Friday.
Messi, who led Barcelona to a 5-0 rout of Villareal in Sunday`s La Liga clash, seemed relaxed and was equally agile along with the likes of Javier Mascherano, Gonzalzo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.
Coach Sabella, who earlier in the day, made it clear that he was looking for a good playmaker for Messi, divided the team into two batches for a round of football.
Sporting a pair of green sneakers, Messi enthralled with his magical left-footer as his powerful shots kept flying into the net with total perfection.
But the highlight of the practice session was new coach Sabella`s main focus on team co-ordination and the last line of defence, goalkeeping.
Throughout the session, he gave special attention to the three Argentine custodians -- Sergio Romero, Estaban Andrada and Mariano Andjar.
Soon after the practice match, the Argentine midfielders and forwards tested their shooting skills in turn, even as Sabella made his support staff give some muscle relaxing exercises to the rest of the players.
What followed next was a brief team meeting where Sabella took stock of the players` fitness.
Although no spectator was allowed inside the stadium during the training session, many gathered to get a first glimpse of Messi.