Thiago Silva: Messi is the best player in the world

Lionel Messi has not been at his best at the Copa America but Brazil defender Thiago Silva says his side will not take their eyes off the Argentina captain for a minute in their semi-final on Tuesday.

“He is the best player in the world and he still could spring to life,” Silva told a news conference on Saturday ahead of the first Copa meeting between the sides since the 2007 final, which Brazil won 3-0.

“We will have to be especially focused on him when we have the ball and when we don’t. Sometimes he can be at walking pace during a game but he’s always looking for space to launch a counterattack.

“It’s a privilege to be able to face him again and we’ll have to try and put the brakes on him.”

Messi has scored once in the tournament – from the penalty spot – and has acknowledged he is not playing at his usual level. He had only three shots during his side’s 2-0 win over Venezuela in the quarter-finals, none of which hit the target.