This summer’s World Cup finals might be Lionel Messi’s final opportunity to land his hands on football’s most prestigious trophy.
The Argentina forward will be 35 by the time the 2022 World Cup in Qatar gets underway - and most players around the same age have already retired from international football.
Of course, there’s nothing to say that Messi won’t still be part of the Argentina squad for the 2022 World Cup. But even if he is still playing for his country, it’s hard to believe that he will be as good then as he is now.
Messi has produced some of the best football of his career for Barcelona this season and will travel to Russia this summer at the peak of his powers.
End of season burnout could be a problem for the 30-year-old - like it was in Brazil four years ago - but Messi will ensure that he does everything to arrive in the best possible physical condition.
There are still a significant number of football fans who believe that Messi needs to win a World Cup - or at least a major title with Argentina - to be considered the best footballer of all time.
Others disagree with this argument and claim Messi has already cemented his status as the greatest thanks to his extraordinary performances for both club and country over the past 12 or so years.
Messi may not have won a title with Argentina - aside from the 2008 Olympics - but he has dragged his country to a World Cup final and two Copa America finals.
That’s an achievement in itself and shouldn’t be sniffed at.
Didier Drogba gives his honest opinion about Messi
Didier Drogba, however, falls into the former category.
The Chelsea legend believes that both Pele and Diego Maradona still have the edge over Messi because of their legendary achievements at international level.
"To win a World Cup would make him even more legendary. He's an extraordinary player!" Drogba was quoted as telling AFP by Sport.
"He's still not at the heights of [Diego] Maradona and Pele, but he's not far away."
Not sure everyone will agree, Didier.
Messi fans would argue that for sheer talent as well as achievements at club level, their hero has surpassed both Maradona and Pele.
But this summer will provide Messi with another opportunity to silence those who argue he needs a World Cup winners’ medal in his collection to be called a true legend of the game.
Argentina are currently the bookmakers' fifth favourites to win the World Cup behind Germany, Brazil, France and Spain.
They kick off their 2018 World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16.
Also in their group are Croatia and Nigeria.
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