Considering the fact that Messi is the captain of his team and one of world’s best players, he would be expected to live upto the common adage ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ as Argentineans have lots of expectations from their lad in this World Cup.
Now the question which is in every football fan’s mind is whether Messi would get his ‘Maradona moment’ by guiding Argentina to World Cup glory in Brazil.

Diego Maradona did it in 1986 as he inspired Argentina to claim the most prestigious prize in international football.

In fact, it was Maradona’s magical performances in the 1986 World Cup that earned him the reputation of being a ‘true great’, inscribing his name in the Argentina’s folklore forever. He is loved, revered and absolutely treasured back in his country.

Messi’s craving for the World Cup trophy is not a concealed truth for the world as he had last year said that he would happily swap one of his four Ballon d’Or trophies with the World Cup trophy.

The one side-effect of being a great is the gargantuan amount of expectations that people start having from an individual and it is perhaps the same case with Messi.

Argentina has pinned its hopes of tasting World Cup glory on Messi and it is this weight of expectations that could work as the biggest impediment for the Barcelona talisman.

The amount of expectations people from all over the world have from Messi can be realized by the fact that the pint-sized forward scored 36 goals last season but people still called him ‘out of form’.

At 27, many football pundits say this is Messi’s best shot at World Cup glory with Argentina and there is total merit in these claims.

The awesome Argentinean quartet of Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain are capable of giving horror nights to even the best defenders in the world.

Attack wise, it would be fair enough to say that Argentina has one of the best sides in the World Cup and with a solid midfield, their attacking prowess would be a treat for every football fan in the world.

However, it is Argentina’s shady defence that has been a spot of constant bother for the La Albiceleste as evident from their last friendly games against Trinidad and Tobago and Slovenia.

Messi’s performances in the last two World Cups is also a matter of deep concern for the Argentinean fans as the 5 feet 7 inch striker has managed to find the net just once at the biggest football tournament in the world. He has scored 38 times for Argentina in 68 appearances.

With the captain’s armband, expectations and its tremendous pressure are at its peak with Messi.

And whether he would be able to cement his legacy just like Maradona did by steering Argentina to World Cup triumph in Brazil, it remains to be seen.

There is no second opinion that Messi has been the best player on the planet for the last five years, followed very closely by Cristiano Ronaldo, but the absence of that elusive World Cup trophy is something which could haunt him forever.

One thing is for sure that Messi’s comparison with Maradona would never go away and it is something which he would need to deal with.

If he triumphs in coming out of Maradona’s shadow to shut his naysayers, he would be well on his path to be regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever footballers.

(Harshdeep Singh/JPN)

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