Lionel Messi will be eyeing history at the 2022 World Cup.
While getting his hands on the Copa America trophy will certainly have alleviated some of the pressure on his shoulders, there’s no denying that conquering the world would solidify his legacy behind reproach.
It might well be fantastic that Messi has delivered international silverware for Argentina, but many of the sport’s greatest ever male players have punctuated their career with World Cup triumphs.
Individual moments of Messi genius
From Pele and Diego Maradona to Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo Nazario, there are enough legends who have gone all the way for some fans to argue that it’s an integral part of any GOAT argument to be made.
However, as we all know, football is a team sport and there has been good reason to suggest that Messi has been let down by his teammates across World Cup journeys in the past.
One can’t help looking back at the 2014 final in Rio de Janeiro when Gonzalo Higuain missed a fabulous chance to fire Argentina into the lead and wonder: ‘what could have been?’
Nevertheless, there are moments where the sport we love dearly does leave the door ajar for moments of individual brilliance and there were undoubtedly many instances of that back in Brazil.
The stunning free-kick against Nigeria and dramatic winner versus Iran come to mind, but Messi’s brilliance is such that he’s always capable of producing that absolute gold dust, even if it’s in training.
Aubameyang on FIRE! (Football Terrace)
Messi’s solo goal in Argentina training
And ahead of the 2018 World Cup, fans were given a rare glimpse into Messi’s preparations when footage emerged showing exactly what we’re on about: the icon himself showing his teammates that he isn’t human.
That’s because Messi gave us tantalising insight into the carnage he must exact upon his Argentina colleagues on the training field with a jaw-dropping individual goal back in March 2018.
Seeing Messi collect the ball on the half-way line and casually decide that he’s going to carve through his compatriots like a hot knife through butter is truly a sight to behold, so check it out down below:
Three, two, one… Messi.
The otherworldly magic of Messi
Look, there are just certain moments, whether that’s at the World Cup itself or against his teammates in training, where Messi does something that just makes the players around him look like amateurs.
And given how little insight we’re given into Messi’s practicing, you dread to think how often the 34-year-old manages to achieve that feat between the cones, wearing a bib and without the cameras.
However, the fact that we have this one Messi special on film is nevertheless a blessing because it just goes to show that he can flick a switch every now and again that fires him into the stratosphere.
And if Argentina can mine one, just one, moment of extraterrestrial brilliance like that from Messi at the 2022 World Cup this winter, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they stand a chance.