Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal has said Lionel Messi fears him and his side after their victories over Argentina in the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals.
Messi is still searching for a major trophy with his country as he prepares for the World Cup — a tournament for which Chile did not qualify.
Speaking to Brazilian Youtube channel Pilhado along with Bayern Munich teammate Rafinha, Vidal was asked whether he feared Messi.
He laughed and replied: “Do I fear him or does he fear me? I don’t fear him, but you have to ask him if he was left with fear. I’ve beaten him in all the finals — and if we were to meet again, we [Chile] would win again.
“I don’t fear anything — on the pitch we are all equal. I defend my jersey and my national team to the death. If I can, I give it all on the pitch.”
Vidal was voted Man of the Match in the 2015 final, won 4-1 on penalties by Chile, and was named in the Team of the Tournament after a 4-2 penalties triumph the following year.
“The Argentinians dream about me!” he said. “It was joyful to win a Copa America. For Chileans, it’s not easy to reach a final and win it, more so against the Argentinians. But we got two Copas and that will always be there.”
Argentina, runners-up in the last World Cup, begin their quest for the trophy against Iceland on Saturday.
But Vidal said he would be backing Brazil, adding: “In South America, you always support South American [teams].
“I hope Brazil win. They have a very good team with young and strong players. They play beautiful football, but I hope the champions is the team that plays the best.”