Lionel Messi is injured and will reportedly miss up to eight weeks - cue the alarm bells in Catalonia.
At first sight, his hamstring tear maybe a blow to his club, Barcelona. His chances of a fifth straight Ballon d'Or title might also suffer. But, the silver lining for Barcelona’s favourite son is that he just may get a chance to settle a few scores on the international stage.
Hailed by many as the greatest player to ever play the game, he has won it all at club level. An astonishing goalscoring record, a penchant for the beautiful and extraordinary and an incredible three Champions League titles have already assured him of a place in club football folklore.
There is just one gap that needs to filled, one wrong that needs to be corrected: Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player of all time, has never headlined a World Cup. For all the talk about the Champions League now being the pinnacle of football, the World Cup is and should be the holy grail of the beautiful game.
Messi will turn 27 during the course of the 2014 World Cup. With a handy two-month break in November-December, he will not enter the World Cup having played sixty odd games for his Catalan club and suffering from burn-out, as is the norm. Never will he have a better chance to etch his name amongst the legends who have truly reached the zenith of football and won a World Cup.
The list reads like a who’s who of the greatest players ever to kick a football. Franz Beckenbauer, Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo - It’s some list. The host country is also perfect for Messi as Brazil are Argentina’s eternal rivals.
What better way to put an exclamation mark on an already majestic career by winning the World Cup on the enemy’s turf? Two months out and the loss of a fifth straight Ballon d'Or are small prices to pay for completing some unfinished business.
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