The name Lionel Messi readily translates to football success at the highest level. The Argentine is considered one of the greatest of all time and has won countless clubs and personal honors. Messi owns six Ballon d'Or wins, and he is one of the richest athletes on the planet. Yet the Barcelona captain has yet to capture a World Cup crown for country.
Not that Argentina has missed out on the most prestigious football competition. The nation, in fact, had been victorious in the past for the successful campaigns in 1978 and 1986, evidently before Messi rose to stardom.
The superstar saw four chances of winning the title and he could have secured one in 2014. Germany, however, frustrated that opportunity and in the 2018 edition, Messi was devastated by Argentina's early exit from the round of 16.
Nonetheless, fellow Argentine Oscar Ustari is a firm believer in Messi. The keeper is convinced that before retiring, the 32-year-old Messi will finally lift the World Cup trophy, which for footballers is considered the culmination of their journey.
"I have no doubt that if Messi isn't world champion, football will be unfair," the Evening Standard reported the shot-stopper as saying.
Notably, Messi's frustrations in World Cup attempts extended to other international contests. Ustari recalled that Argentina's loss against Uruguay during the 2011 Copa America, played at home, hit the football superstar.
"I remember that in the 2011 Copa America ... I went to see Messi at the Ezeiza base and I saw him like I had never seen him before. Destroyed," the keeper revealed.
He added: "Doubting Messi is nonsense. Things can go well or not, but I can tell you that I have seen him crying like a child because of what was happening in the national team. It's very difficult to be in his shoes."
It's not a complete shutout, however, for Messi in the international arena. Goal reported that Ustari and Messi were part of the national team that competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The duo powered Argentina to a gold medal finish at that time.
Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino said he is still looking forward to Argentina's World Cup title No. 3 with Messi leading the way, adding "[The World Cup is] a huge goal for Messi and for the Argentine team. I hope he arrives at a great moment."
"His presence will be a recognition of the generation that deserved something more. Argentina is going to arrive well to fight for the World Cup," said the former Tottenham boss.
For his part, Messi said the lack of international honors will not diminish his achievements at the club level, insisting "I don't think I would change anything else in my career ... to be a world champion."