However, there is no basis for the claim that Messi doesn't produce his best form for Argentina.
Messi didn't get a single shot off in a defeat that pushed Argentina to the brink of elimination.
Messi needs his team-mates to put their heads above the parapet, especially when things are not going Argentina's way, and take some of the pressure and weight off his shoulders. Lionel Messi and company were shocked and destroyed by Croatia, 3-0, thanks to goals from Ante Rebi, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
Up against Lionel Messi and perennial powerhouse Argentina, Croatia pulled off a massive upset, winning 3-0. He's the country's top-scorer ever, with 64 goals in 124 games, and was the main reason they reached three finals in the last four years. We're talking about a World Cup that involves millions of people.
"He is the best player in the world and clearly it is impossible that a single player changes the situation of a match completely". Argentina could have a very similar set-up as they have Sergio Aguero.
"It is clear that Messi's legacy and standing within the game would be enhanced with victory in Russian Federation this summer, but he does not need to win the World Cup to be viewed as Maradona's equal", argued London-based sports writer Greg Lea in an article for The Sportsman.
Argentina wouldn't even be at this World Cup if it weren't for a Messi hat trick on the final day of qualifying. "I am extremely hurt by this defeat, but I probably didn't understand the match the way I should have".
There is only so much one player can do in a team. "Because then what's the point of you being there?" said former Argentine forward Claudio Caniggia.
"Messi was at a standstill, he was off the pace, depressed", Latorre said. Ultimately, Messi was undone by his sub-par teammates, his indecisive coach - who couldn't settle on a formation - and his goalkeeper.
It was under Pep Guardiola that Barcelona began playing this way, getting rid of the likes of Samual Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to enable Messi to roam more centrally and participate more.