With the start of the World Cup just days away, Lionel Messi and the rest of his Argentina team-mates got a taste of what was to come as they enjoyed their first training session in front of a large crowd in Russia.

Argentina’s attracking trio of Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain all shared a laugh and a joke during training on Monday afternoon.

Following Jorge Sampaoli’s gruelling session, Messi along with other Argentinian stars thanked the fans for coming out to see them train by signing autographs and getting selfies taken with the travelling support.

Lionel Messi (L) and Sergio Aguero (R) have a laugh during training on Monday afternoon

Lionel Messi (L) and Sergio Aguero (R) have a laugh during training on Monday afternoon

Lionel Messi (L) and Sergio Aguero (R) have a laugh during training on Monday afternoon

Messi signs football shirts for young fans after training

Messi signs football shirts for young fans after training

The Barcelona star signs a miniature football for a young girl as secruity stand by

The Barcelona star signs a miniature football for a young girl as secruity stand by

The Argentinian talisman signs replica shirts and balls for the adoring crowd in Russia

Messi (L) Higuian (C) and Aguero (R) playfully joke around in training at the team's base camp

Messi (L) Higuian (C) and Aguero (R) playfully joke around in training at the team's base camp

Messi (L) Higuian (C) and Aguero (R) playfully joke around in training at the team’s base camp

Fans clamber to get a picture of Paulo Dybala after finishing Argentina's training session

Fans clamber to get a picture of Paulo Dybala after finishing Argentina's training session

Fans clamber to get a picture of Paulo Dybala after finishing Argentina’s training session

ARGENTINA FIXTURES AND RESULTS

FRIENDLY

May 29: Nicaragua (Cancelled)

May 30: Haiti 4-0 (Win)

June 9: Israel (Cancelled) 

WORLD CUP 

June 16, 2pm: Iceland

June 21, 7pm: Croatia

June 26, 7pm: Nigeria 

As the South American side kick off their preparations for the tournament in Russia, Sampaoli will have wanted some more game time after his two of his friendlies were cancelled. 

Argentina’s friendly away to Israel was cancelled due to political protests as well as their clash with Nicaragua, meaning the only match the squad has played together in preparation was a 4-0 win over minnows Haiti.

They begin their campaign against Iceland on June 16 at the Otkrytie Arena in Moscow and will also play Croatia and Nigeria in Group D.

Argentina’s Football Association president Claudio Tapia has already set the precedent for the side ahead of the tournament, as he believes reaching the semi-finals is a good target for the nation.

Angel Di Maria (C) tries to get past Nicolas Otamendi (L) in training in Bronnitsy

Angel Di Maria (C) tries to get past Nicolas Otamendi (L) in training in Bronnitsy

Angel Di Maria (C) tries to get past Nicolas Otamendi (L) in training in Bronnitsy

Defender Marcos Acuna (C) strikes the ball as Argentina continue their preparations

Defender Marcos Acuna (C) strikes the ball as Argentina continue their preparations

Defender Marcos Acuna (C) strikes the ball as Argentina continue their preparations

Fans got to see a rare Messi header as they trained ahead of the opening game against Iceland

Fans got to see a rare Messi header as they trained ahead of the opening game against Iceland

Fans got to see a rare Messi header as they trained ahead of the opening game against Iceland

Dybala keeps a close eye on the ball during training in Bronnitsy

Dybala keeps a close eye on the ball during training in Bronnitsy

Eduardo Salvio hones his skills during training

Eduardo Salvio hones his skills during training

Dybala (left) and Eduardo Salvio (right) practice close control on Monday afternoon

Argentina reached the final in 2014 but are not considered among the favourites in Russia after only just scraping through qualifying. 

‘Being in the top four is a positive goal,’ he told TyC Sports as he looked ahead to the showpiece in Russia. 

Messi will captain La Albiceleste as he bid to win a first major trophy with his country.

Tapia was quick to heap praise on the Barcelona star, labelling him the best player on the planet.

‘He gives a lot to Argentine soccer, let’s face it,’ he said. ‘The growth we have in the AFA is because we have the best player in the world.’

Messi takes a break during training by sitting on the ball as he watches on

Messi takes a break during training by sitting on the ball as he watches on

Messi takes a break during training by sitting on the ball as he watches on

Javier Mascherano (L) and Aguero (C) arrive at training in a golf buggy on Monday

Javier Mascherano (L) and Aguero (C) arrive at training in a golf buggy on Monday

Javier Mascherano (L) and Aguero (C) arrive at training in a golf buggy on Monday

Argentina's goalkeeper Franco Armani is put through his paces at the team's base camp

Argentina's goalkeeper Franco Armani is put through his paces at the team's base camp

Argentina’s goalkeeper Franco Armani is put through his paces at the team’s base camp

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