Messi sets sights on Copa America

Messi sets sights on Copa America

Published May. 31, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Lionel Messi is back home and setting his sights on winning the Copa America for his native Argentina.

Messi arrived Tuesday in Buenos Aires and said the ''most important thing now'' was to win the continental championship, which begins July 1 with Argentina facing Bolivia. The final is July 24, with Argentina and Brazil the favorites.

Messi was the man of the match in Barcelona's 3-1 victory over Manchester United on Saturday in the Champions League final, but he has had limited success with the Argentine national team.

''The most important thing now is to get the Copa America,'' Messi told reporters at Buenos Aires airport. ''I've had the luck to win everything with Barcelona, win everything as an individual and my goal now is go win things for the Argentine national team.''

Argentina, then coached by Diego Maradona, was demolished 4-0 by Germany last year in the World Cup quarterfinals and Messi was no factor, often isolated in midfield without the ball.

Maradona has since been replaced by Sergio Batista as coach. Argentina has won the World Cup twice - 1978 and 1986 - but it has not won a major international tournament since claiming the Copa America in 1993 in Ecuador.