Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson swaps film-making for World Cup drama

Referee Damir Skomina and assistants Jure Praprotnik and Robert Vukan before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Ra

"In Argentina they know that Maradona is light years away from the best Argentine player in history, which for me is Lionel Messi", the centre-back was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper Marca.

While Messi has proved himself time and again for a decade and more at club level, worldwide glory has eluded the maestro who has had so many agonising brushes with glory in his pursuit of success with Argentina.

With four World Cup appearances but zero wins, Lionel Messi has experienced World Cup heartbreak before. "We'll see what happens and what he decides on the day", the 22-year-old Pavon said.

"We discussed looking for the breaks to generate the best physical and mental form for the World Cup, it will be very important and it will be much more genuine for him to handle it than another". Argentina lost to Germany in the quarterfinals in 2006, and the coach's decision to bench Messi for that game led to his resignation. It's madness that he can not enjoy his talent. "I think that's quite unfair".

Lionel Messi's 31st birthday this weekend is an ominous reminder Russian Federation may be his last World Cup and final chance to emulate fellow Argentine great Diego Maradona in lifting the ultimate prize. Messi is a fantastic player.

The diminutive Argentine captain known as "La Pulga" (The Flea) has won every club accolade imaginable with Barcelona, but has agonizingly missed out on global trophies both at the World Cup and Copa America.

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Argentina collected just seven points from eight games when Messi was missing for qualifying games, with that total transformed to 21 points in the ten games when he did start.

Sergio Ramos has hit back at Diego Maradona.

"Football, the World Cup, would not be the same without Messi".

Perhaps, in future, we can make it to being among the best in Asia and qualify for the World Cup. It also means that Thursday's match against Croatia is momentous.

"His aim is to bring the Cup home, to win the World Cup", Cuccittini told El Trece in a quote translated by ESPN.

He dare not fail again.

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