Argentine superstar, Lionel Messi, has said he hopes football “ends up paying” the debt the sport owes him at the 2018 World Cup.
Messi has lost three straight finals with Argentina in a three-year span.
His national team coach, Jorge Sampaoli, said after Messi’s hat-trick at Ecuador in the 3-1 win in their final qualifier on October 10, that football “owes Messi a World Cup.”
When asked to comment on Sampaoli’s remarks, Messi told FIFA: “Yes, I did hear it, and he said it to me too. I hope football does end up paying me!”
Argentina will face Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland in Group D of next year’s tournament. But Messi says the 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany is still an open wound.
“It’s going to be there forever,” he said.
“I don’t know if they’re ever going to heal. We’re just going to have to live with it. 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.”
Messi is, however, glad to get another chance to win that title.
“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,” he said. “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.”