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14 June 2018, 09:58 | Charlene Valdez
World Cup 2018 Mohamed Salah was injured in the Champions League final against Real Madrid
Let's see if Messi can put the Albiceleste on his shoulders and will it to victory, just as he did with a hat trick in a must-win final World Cup qualifier in Ecuador.
He also helped the side reach the UEFA Champions League final. Can he and the Selecao, as the Portuguese national team is known, win the 2018 Cup? In the first game in the Euros we played Ronaldo and now it's Messi. "Both Messi and Ronaldo arrive at this World Cup, probably as the last one", Mourinho told RT during a live broadcast in Moscow ahead of the opening ceremony on Thursday.
The Seleccion looked unlikely to qualify for a 13th consecutive World Cup finals, after the Barcelona star man initially announced his global retirement in 2016. His strike rate is impressive, with 64 goals in 124 appearances, but he hasn't done what Diego Maradona did - lead his country to World Cup glory.
"He is the player with most merit that I can remember, he has been able to live with Messi and take away individual and team trophies from him", explained Lopetegui.
With Portugal and Argentina as the last two standing Mourinho is visibly torn between his heart and his head as befits such an "emotional job", and instead of choosing an outright victor, suggests that the final with go to penalties, with Messi and Ronaldo each bagging a goal.
Last year's Copa America final defeat to Chile, in which Messi missed a penalty, was the latest bitter disappointment in long list of anti-climaxes. The loss in 2016 was especially bitter for Messi, who missed a penalty in the shootout, leading him to announcing his global retirement after the game.
Fixtures against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the lowest ranked side in the tournament in the form of the hosts Russian Federation - we could likely see Cavani bully his way into the reckoning early on.
But there's no doubt that the absence of a World Cup title on his impressive resumé of accomplishments rankles him. Winning the World Cup with Argentina would be the greatest achievement of his glittering career.
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