That the whole world is rooting for the Argentine genius Lionel Messi to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is a well known fact, but what the Barcelona man would probably not have expected is Oprah Winfrey to offer him encouragement.
Speaking at a promotional event alongside Reese Witherspoon, the American TV legend offered Messi some friendly advice, while Witherspoon said her son’s favourite player is the Argentine captain.
"Messi, this message is for you, and this is the thing, you already know this in advance: You go deep, you go deep, and you find the strength inside yourself," Winfrey, told Pronto when asked if she could help inspire the forward. "And Messi: Be a warrior."
The 30-year old who has won it all at the club level with Barcelona, has not been able to replicate the success with the national team. Messi’s critics believe that only if he can lead his nation to international glory will he be considered in the pantheon of greats.
The Argentina captain has come close on three different occasions so far in his career, the first being 2014 when Germany beat them to the World Cup title in Brazil, while the other two were consecutive Copa America final defeats against Chile in 2015 and 2016. The last of the three finals saw him announce his retirement from international football before he went back on the same and managed to take the Albiceleste to Russia with a timely hat-trick in the final qualifier against Ecuador.
The Argentine captain, who is understandably under tremendous pressure with Russia possibly his last chance at World Cup glory admits he can’t help but think ahead to the summer.
"Everywhere in the world they are waiting for Argentina to be champions and for that to happen to me," Messi told La Conrisa TV. "Nowadays I try to leave to one side everything that is said and that surrounds football, but it's complicated because it's a World Cup and the focus is there.
"I'm lucky to play for things that are very important at Barcelona that make me focus on that and not think too far ahead.
"Many people desire for me to be champion and that is incredible. I try to live day to day and not think about June but it is incredible how people all over the world want for Argentina to be champion and for me to get it."