Lead is perhaps the operative word when describing the Barcelona forward's role in his national team, with the side's hopes residing almost exclusively with their most talented player.
If Messi shines, La Albiceleste have a very real chance to clinch their first title since 1986 and their captain will surely need to be at his very best.
Despite there being question-marks over the Argentina side, Messi is still the second-favourite to be the tournament's top scorer, with bet365 pricing him at 10/1 (11.00).
The 30-year-old has scored five goals in 15 World Cup appearances, but after another sensational season with Barcelona, he is in the kind of form where he is capable of anything.
Top La Liga scorer
Four of Messi's five goals in World Cups came four years ago in Brazil where he ended as the top La Liga scorer.
He is offered at 15/8 (2.87) to once more being the most prolific player from the Spanish top flight and this market sees him pitted directly against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez.
Winner and top scorer
If Argentina do go on to win their third World Cup it means almost certainly that Messi will have had an exceptional tournament.
The price of 25/1 (26.00) is available for Argentina to win and Messi to end the competition as top scorer.
Top Argentina scorer
So central to his nation's hopes is Messi, that he is priced at just 8/11 (1.73) to be Argentina's top scorer.
Yet that price could be big enough to interest some, given that not only he is the most prolific player on the team, but Messi also takes penalties and free-kicks for his country.
Of course, the pressure is on Messi because if he fails to perform, his country's hopes could be bitterly dashed.
It is worth remembering that in March, with Messi watching on from the stands Argentina were beaten 6-1 by Spain in Madrid.
Jorge Sampaoli's side are priced at 8/13 (1.61) to win Group D ahead of Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland, but if Messi struggles or gets injured, the price of 9/2 (5.50) for them to fail to qualify could be of interest.
Prices correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.