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Messi the star attraction as Banega trains apart

AFP  |  Bronnitsy (Russia) 

Around 400 eager fans turned out at Argentina's base camp to catch a glimpse of and his team-mates at an open training session.

A particularly affectionate welcome was reserved for the forward, as hordes of adoring young supporters chanted "Messi, Messi" on his way out for an hour-long practice on Monday.

After several days of chilly temperatures in the Russian capital, overcast skies gave way to sunshine, with excited locals packing a temporary stand in Bronnitsy, southeast of Moscow, to follow the action.

had already struck on the eve of their departure for the tournament, with West Ham ruled out with a serious knee

Enzo Perez was summoned as a replacement for Lanzini, although the status of Ever

Banega for Argentina's first group game against on June 16 remains uncertain after the trained alone.

The odd Messi mask was spotted in the crowd, while others waved flags, as well as those of

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was then mobbed by dozens of youngsters at the end of the session as players stopped to sign autographs.

Ernesto Lagorio, Argentina's to Russia, was at the session at the sprawling training centre, used by several Russian national teams, on the banks of the

"We came to see our national team, it's the first acquaintance with them, it's been great," Lagorio told AFP.

"We've already been to Bronnitsy several times, we've worked a lot with the authorities and the He's helped us a lot, it's been in the works for several months." Asked whether he would be attending matches, he replied: "I hope to show up until the final match in July.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 14:00 IST
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