Lionel Messi has long gone surprisingly short of love from his fellow Argentinians, among whom he is known as ‘El Catalan’.
This can be attributed largely to the fact that, unlike Carlos Tevez, they have never had the chance to grow attached to him by watching him in domestic action.
The fact that he has failed to notch a major tournament goal for his country since his strike against Serbia in 2006 can’t have helped.
However, this time things will be different, so get on bwin’s enhanced odds of 9/1 about the Rosario kid adding an elusive World Cup top-scorer gong to his King Soloman-embarrasing collection.
Want to know why? Fill your galoshes…
With Tevez axed, Messi’s bromance with Sergio Aguero is set in first-XI stone.
Back in Argentina, Tevez’s omission was an outrage, but Messi and Carlitos have proved frustratingly impossible to gel.
So much does Messi love playing with Aguero that it’s been rumoured he attempted to compel Barcelona to pursue signing ‘Kun’ as a condition of his inking a new Camp Nou deal.
He has made fewer appearances in 2013/14 than in any season since 2007/08.
Sundry injury layaways during the course of the campaign have offered the 26-year-old the chance to head into this tournament with less miles on the clock than after any season in which he’s scored more than 20 club goals.
He has scored 18 times in 19 Argentinian outings since the start of 2012.
Given Messi had notched just once more in the entirety of his first 67 internationals over the preceding seven years, it’s clear just how much his form for the Albiceleste is improving.
A South American has top-scored at all four previous World Cups held on the continent.
Not only have teams from the CONMEBOL confederation lifted the trophy in every home renewal, they’ve locked out the golden boot too, with Argentinians landing the award on two of the four occasions.