Lionel Messi could realise World Cup dream after injury

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What initially felt like a massive blow for Barcelona and Lionel Messi himself could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for both parties - as well as Argentina.

The next six months promise to be a defining period in the career of the four-time - potentially five-time, depending on the outcome of Monday's ceremony in Zurich - Ballon d'Or winner.

After attempting to win a seventh La Liga title with Barcelona, not to mention a fourth European Cup, he will then try to cement his status as arguably the greatest footballer that has ever lived.

Of course - Messi being the humble character that he is - the chance to move above iconic compatriot Diego Maradona in the pantheon of all-time greats will not concern him. If anything, it'll be an unwanted distraction.

What will concern him is winning the World Cup with Argentina.

And to make it all the more sweeter: winning the World Cup with Argentina in Brazil.

The bragging rights that would inevitably be attached to such an historic triumph would be unprecedented.

On a personal level, Messi will feel he has a point to prove in global football's most famous competition.

Back in 2006, his tender age meant he was used only sporadically by Argentina coach Jose Pekerman, who didn't want to pile too much pressure on the 18-year-old's shoulders.

Messi was forced to watch from the dugout as his national team were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Germany.

Four years later and Messi was expected to dominate the 2010 World Cup finals after two stunning seasons with Barcelona.

However, more disappointment would follow in South Africa - culminating in another quarter-final exit to Germany.

It was clear that Messi was, for want of a better word, knackered.

The effects of a physically and emotionally draining season had caught up with the world's best player, who failed to score a single goal during the tournament.

But this summer's World Cup could be different - thanks to his recent hamstring injury.

Messi spent 58 days recovering, first in Argentina and then back in Barcelona, and marked his return to action on Wednesday night with two superb goals in four minutes against Getafe in the Copa del Rey.

No team in world football can contend with a fresh and fully-fit Messi - and his latest injury nightmare could indirectly result in him realising his ultimate dream in South America this summer.

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Lionel Messi
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