Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany Image: Twitter
Lionel Messi will never forget the World Cup 2014 final. Precisely the 113th minute goal by Germany's Mario Gotze, that spoiled the party for all Argentina fans around the world. He's 30 and the 2018 World Cup tournament will be the last in his prime. It is probably safe to say that the god of football is also waiting for a miracle in Russia.
In an interview with FIFA.com, he said: "I don't know if they are ever going to heal. We are just going to have to live with it. It is going to be there forever. The World Cup is a very happy memory and a bitter one too because of how it ended, how it all worked out. But it's always going to be there."
Argentina and Messi's unfortunate days in football just didn't end there. They went on to lose two Copa America finals to Chile. Then came the rumours that called Messi an under-achiever with the Argentina team.
After the Albicelestes won a do-or-die clash against Ecuador in the qualifiers and made the cut for Russia 2018, Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli went on to say that football owed him a World Cup.
When Messi was reminded of Sampaoli's quote, he said: "Yes, I did hear it, and he said it to me too. I hope football does end up paying me!". Speaking about Argentina's erratic qualifying campaign, Messi shudders to think what he would have done, had the team not qualified.
"It was very important because missing out on the World Cup would have been a huge blow, firstly for the squad as a whole and then for me on a personal level. I don't know how I would have taken it. The same goes for the people of Argentina. Failing to make Russia would have been an all-time low for the country," he said.
Messi said the Argentine team will be a changed outfit when it lands in Russia come June. "We've had four competitive matches with a new coach, but the national team's going to change now that the Ecuador game's behind us. It's going to grow and it's going to get rid of all the tension and fear it felt because of that match and because of the risk of not achieving our objective. The national team's going to change a lot," he said.
Argentina are placed in Group D alongside Iceland, Nigeria and Croatia. They will open their campaign for the June 15 to July 14 event against Iceland on June 16 in Moscow.
(With inputs from PTI)