Lionel Messi has some catching up to do
The World Cup is here. Thirty-two nations fight for one glorious trophy. Big names such as Andres Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will be playing [probably] their last World Cup. Teams such as Spain, Brazil, France and Germany are favourites to win it.
Back in Rosario, Argentina, everyone has their eyes on Lionel Messi. Will he be able to complete the missing piece in his career puzzle? Can he win the World Cup to seal his legacy? In 2014, he came close but Mario Goetze shattered his dream. The Catalan talisman has also lost three Copa America finals - 2007, 2015 and 2016. Gotta feel for him.
Football is very unpredictable. It is not like Lionel Messi can single-handedly win the competition. The whole team must respond. But Messi can be held accountable for his contribution. Where are the goals? The 31-year-old is in good company with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Raul, tallying five goals in 14 World Cup matches. But that is just the middle of the pack. Messi is expected to reach higher. With 53 goals overall in 2010-11 and 73 in 2011-2012, the bar is very, very high. He should have more, considering players like James Rodriguez, with one tournament to his name, are above him on the list.
More pressure is brought to bear considering this is likely his last bite at the apple. In 2022, he will be 35-years-old, well beyond his prime years. Miroslav Klose's 16 goals is out of reach, unless Messi does a Just Fontaine by scoring double-digits in one tournament. Here are five football legends, in ascending order of World Cup goals, whom the Argentine might catch in Russia.