Argentina and Lionel Messi waited until the last match day of the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers to book their ticket to Russia.
Argentina, the runners-up at the last World Cup, required a hat-trick from Messi to beat Ecuador 3-1 in that match.
With less than six months to the commencement of the Russia tournament, Messi believes it is time football pays its debt to him.
Justifiably, the best football player on the planet, Messi has been unlucky in helping his country snag the biggest football prizes.
Twice losing finalists in the Copa America, the 1-0 loss to Germany in Brazil was like a full stop but Messi believes 2018 can be the golden year.
Messi told FIFA.com that missing Russia 2018 was unthinkable.
“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.
“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.”
At the time before the last qualifier – Argentina coach, Jorge Sampaoli said football owes Messi a World Cup, a statement Messi apparently agrees with.
“I hope football does end up paying me,” Messi adds.
He remembers the 2014 World Cup with happiness and bitterness.
“We’re just going to have to live with it [the memories of 2014]. It’s going to be there forever.
“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 added.
Do you think football owes Messi a World Cup?