SI World Cup Preview Issue Cover: Argentina's Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has just about done it all. He's won multiple UEFA Champions League titles, league championships, domestic cups and FIFA Ballon d'Or crowns with FC Barcelona. He's already entered the "Best Ever" conversation while still just 26, scoring an incredible 354 goals in 425 matches to become Barcelona's all-time scoring leader. He's won the admiration of fans, teammates and opponents across the world. One thing he hasn't done? Win the World Cup. 

Messi could forever cement his legacy by leading Argentina to a World Cup title on rival Brazil's soil this summer. The comparisons to Argentine legend Diego Maradona will always be prevalent, and some may say that Messi has already surpassed Maradona in the all-time soccer hierarchy based on his skill, talent and club production alone.

But Maradona has one accomplishment that Messi has yet to achieve: Leading Argentina to the World Cup title. The pressure is on Messi to match that feat this summer, perhaps his final World Cup while playing at the true height of his abilities. The fact that Brazil's Neymar, his superstar club teammate but South American international adversary, could stand in his way adds another potential obstacle that would turn Messi's already storybook career into an unequivocal legendary tale.


Lionel Messi ha hecho casi todo en el fútbol. Ha ganado trofeos de UEFA Liga de Campeones, La Liga, la Copa del Rey y Balones de Oro con FC Barcelona. Con edad de 26, ya está en la conversación de los jugadores mejores de todos los tiempos, después de 354 goles en 425 partidos con Barça (un record del club). Messi ha ganado la admiración de hinchas, colegas y otros jugadores alrededor del mundo. Pero hay una cosa que ya no ha hecho: Ganar el Mundial.

Si gana este Mundial con Argentina en la tierra Brasileña, Messi tendría un lugar especial en la historia de fútbol. La discusión de Messi y Diego Maradona, su compatriota siempre existirán, y algunos dicen que Messi ya superó a Maradona con sus éxitos en el nivel de los clubes.

Pero Maradona ganó un trofeo que no tiene Messi: Uno del Mundial. Messi tiene la presión de hacerlo este año cuando todavía tiene todos de sus poderes. El hecho que Neymar, su compañero de Barcelona pero su rival con Brasil, es un obstáculo gigante daría un triunfo argentino aun más satisfacción.

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