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The World’s Best Player and Argentina’s Brightest Star

He’s the world’s best player and he’s Argentina’s brightest star, but that doesn’t mean Lionel Messi doesn’t have anything to worry about. Because he does. Messi is still in the shadow of the great Maradona, who almost single-handedly delivered a World Cup victory for Argentina in 1986. Messi needs a World Cup to prove his status on the biggest stage in football.  He just moved a step closer.

“I know I have a responsibility, especially as captain, to the people of Argentina, but I try not to let the pressure get to me,” Messi said recently.

But the pressure is real. Argentina flamed out in the quarterfinals in the last two World Cups, in 2006 and 2010, and they desperately need the 26-year-old Messi, their goal-scoring machine, to come through. Messi scored only one goal in those two disappointing World Cups, but scoring hasn’t been much of problem for him – at least in qualifying. He had 10 goals in 14 games leading up to the World Cup.

And Messi did not disappoint from his position in the spotlight in Argentina’s World Cup Group F opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina, scoring what turned out to be the winning goal in the 65th minute of a 2-1 Argentine victory.

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