Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: Since their first appearance in 1994, no African team has taken part in as many World Cups as Nigeria (6 - 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014 and 2018). For a start, Messi and Ronaldo have turned the Ballon d'Or-the annual award for the game's leading player-into a duopoly since 2008, winning five times each, a joint record.
Whether or not the history books will be kind to Messi may just hinge on the performance of his team at the World Cup in Russian Federation. And again, just like his great rival, Ronaldo hasn't been able to lead his country to the ultimate prize.
The 32-year-old has taken the place of 25-year-old Manuel Lanzini who injured his knee. A strong showing by Ronaldo in Russian Federation, capped off with lifting the trophy, would nearly certainly clinch it for him. "At Manchester United it was already incredible the number of goals he was scoring but in Real Madrid he's become even more complete".
Last year's Copa America final defeat to Chile, in which Messi missed a penalty, was the latest bitter disappointment in long list of anti-climaxes.
"As it is the first game of the World Cup, it is hard to start playing at the best level", he said.
Paulo Dybala: The Juventus superstar is arguably the most talented player Argentina has after Messi. Such is the hysteria that Messi's biographer, Sebastian Fest, said it had got to the stage where "it nearly amuses him not to sing it".
Argentina training to combat Iceland's 6 cm average height advantage in opener
Though there are established players like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the fray, I hope England captain Harry Kane of France's Antoine Griezmann would be the player of the tournament.
It is a tough task to pick just one team as favourites.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported that Argentina pulled out from their global friendly against Israel.
Ronaldo is said to believe Real are repeating the mistake they made when they hired Rafa Benitez a few years ago.More news: U.S., Mexico, & Canada to Host 2026 World Cup