Argentina star Lionel Messi has stressed that the upcoming World Cup in Russia is the last chance for the nation's current group of players to win the famed trophy.
The Barcelona talisman has been irresistible at club level in terms of silverware, which in stark conntrast to his meagre trophy haul at international level.
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.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner turns 31 in June, and fellow key players Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Nicolas Otamendi and Javier Mascherano will all be 30 or over when the World Cup kicks off.
"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. It seems like having reached three finals doesn't help us at all. We depend on the results, unfortunately. We feel that if we are not champions ... we will not have another.
"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."
- Lionel Messi
- World Cup
- Sergio Aguero
- Gonzalo Higuain
- Angel Di Maria
- Nicolas Otamendi
- Javier Mascherano