Lionel Messi arrives for a training session of Argentina at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Messi is running out of time to save Argentina's World Cup

June 24, 2018 - 7:00 am

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — For Lionel Messi, the time is now.

Time to score at the World Cup. Time to save Argentina from another crushing disappointment. Time to live up to his reputation as one of the world's best players. Time to end questions about his performance on the biggest stage.

The one thing there isn't time for is celebration. Messi turned 31 on Sunday, two days before Tuesday's must-win game against Nigeria.

Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo have already scored at this World Cup. But Messi has done little in two matches.

To leave Russia without even making it past the group stage would be a massive humiliation for Messi. It would also strengthen the impression some fans have of him back home, which is of a maverick genius who goes missing in the biggest games.

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Follow Jerome Pugmire on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jeromepugmire

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