Lionel Messi 'light years' ahead of Diego Maradona - Sergio Ramos

Argentina must understand the big difference between Messi and Maradona, says Crespo

"To beat Argentina, we'll have to play the flawless match and we'll have to work very hard, from the first second to the very last minute of stoppage time", said Croatia's Ivan Rakitic, who also plays with Messi at Barcelona.

Although he's idolised by supporters of Barcelona, where he's spent the entirety of his club career, the feeling towards him doesn't quite seem to be the same from fans of the Argentina national side.

Messi is bearing the weight of expectations as Argentina seek a first World Cup trophy since 1986, desperate to crown his glittering career with a major worldwide tournament success.

Like Maradona, we're all hoping Messi does the business against Croatia in Argentina's second, must-win game.

"I would give everything for this to be his World Cup".

The Barcelona star, 30, later admitted to being "hurt" after missing a decisive penalty that would have put his side ahead.

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But Hernan Crespo, the now-retired Argentina striker and the country's third-highest scorer, told BBC Sport that Messi doesn't need to win a World Cup to be one of greatest players of all time.

'Luckily, people love him a lot and they transmit that to him and he values this a lot.

'I see him much more relaxed, calmer and with more confidence. "I told him to do what he knows best, to enjoy himself and I've told him all his family are supporting him".

It was the latest in a series of low points with the national side for Messi, who suffered defeat in three major finals between 2014 and 2016, leading him to briefly retire from worldwide duty.

"Always together and with you more than ever", Messi's wife wrote. I have no doubt that a goal from the penalty kick would have changed everything.

Croatia topped the group after beating Nigeria 2-0 in their opening game, meaning victory over Argentina would guarantee their passage to the the last 16. We will try to pass this quickly, " said the five-time Ballon d'Or victor.

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