Argentine and Barcelona Superstar Lionel Messi is measuring his whole year on how he performs at the Russia World Cup this summer. The 5-time FIFA World Player of the Year made the comment today while speaking with the Barcelona-based Sports Newspaper, Mundo Deportivo at a training session at the Camp Nou, two days before the soon to be La Liga Champions travel to La Coruna to face Deportivo where they will hope to maintain their unbeaten league record this season.
Messi, who has yet to win anything major with the Argentine senior national team, had this to say:
"This year has been an okay year for me so far and while I was disappointed that Barca failed so shockingly in the quarterfinals against Roma in the Champions League, I know that I can always come back next year and make amends. But, as any football fan would already know, 2018 is an extra-special year because of course we have the World Cup in June and this one will definitely be my last."
He went on:
"Although I will probably also play in one more Copa America next year in Brazil to try and see if I can win that, every footballer knows that the World Cup is the most coveted and ultimate prize in football. I am making it my duty to do my best to see to it that I help my beloved country of Argentina to the top prize in Russia this summer. It has always been my dream. I have a small taste of what it feels like to win one already when I won an Under-20 title in 2005. But no amount of youth titles can ever compensate for not winning a senior World Cup. In fact, I would consider my whole year an absolute failure if I don't win the World Cup this summer."
Asked if he thought that he was putting too much pressure on himself, Messi replied:
"Of course not. I usually set high standards for myself and I have already tasted defeat in consecutive international tournament finals from 2014-2016. Those losses really hurt me a lot. The Brazil World Cup was one that I would want to forget. What's the sense in winning the Golden Ball when you can't win the top team prize that you came for? Also, in the previous World Cup in South Africa I didn't score a single goal."
"That is why I am going all out to ensure that I bring the World Cup home for my fans in Argentina. Only then will I be satisfied. In addition to which, I will also replace the great Diego Maradona as my country's favorite son and that to me would be the best feeling ever."