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Messi admits 2018 World Cup is last chance at glory with Argentina

04:57 GMT 19/03/2018
Lionel Messi Argentina kit
The Argentina star knows that the pressure is on his side to finally emerge victorious after several close calls

Argentina star Lionel Messi said the upcoming World Cup in Russia is the last chance for the nation's current group of players to win a World Cup. 

The football icon has lifted a plethora of global, continental and domestic titles with Barcelona, but his national team career has not consisted of the same glory.

Messi and Argentina have suffered heartbreak in three consecutive major international finals: the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Copa America. 

"I cried many times because of games like these, for lost finals, for what they mean and for not being able to achieve the dream of a country," Messi told Argentine television program "La Cornisa."

"They [the three finals] were tough blows," Messi continued. "It seems like having reached three finals doesn't help us at all."

With Messi now 30, the Barcelona star realizes that time is ticking away on his and his team-mates' chances of achieving something special together. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner turns 31 in June, and key contributors Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Nicolas Otamendi and Javier Mascherano will all be 30 or over when the World Cup kicks off. 

"We depend on the results, unfortunately," Messi said. "We feel that if we are not champions ... we will not have another."

The Barcelona star confessed that he dreams of lifting the trophy in Russia, after his country fell in extra-time to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil. 

"I imagine being able to be in that game, to win it, to be able to raise the cup," Messi said. "It's the dream I have always had and every time a World Cup comes it gets even stronger.

"I want to tell people that I hope it's a great World Cup for us, that my wish is the same as all of you and that we can live something similar to 2014, which was an unforgettable experience, and that the result is similar but this time raising the cup is everyone's dream."

Argentina will take on Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in group play at the World Cup, which kicks off in June.