Former Portugal star Luis Figo expects Lionel Messi to raise his game at the World Cup, which he believes could be the Argentine’s last chance to lift the football’s most famous trophy.
Figo, whose five-year spell at Barcelona ended in 2000 – four years before Messi broke through at Camp Nou – highlighted the differences between international and club football when assessing the 30-year-old’s chances of success in Russia.
Messi made his World Cup debut in 2006 when Argentina reached the quarter-finals and was part of the team that made the last eight in 2010, before helping them to a first final in 24 years in 2014.
But the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has only showed glimpses of his very best football on international football’s biggest stage and Figo told Omnisport: “It’s different when you play for the national team and for your club.
“I think it’s one of the last chances he has to perform with a great result in a World Cup.
“He will probably try harder and in the best way to achieve the goals Argentina have in the World Cup.”
Messi scored 34 goals in 36 appearances as Barcelona won LaLiga in 2017-18 and also helped them to victory in the Copa del Rey, but Figo hopes he has saved something special for the World Cup.
“I hope that he can arrive at the competition in the best physical condition possible to perform and give the fans the best he can do,” he added.