It’s all or nothing for Argentina and Lionel Messi on Wednesday. For most teams and players in the World Cup, the outcome is simple: win or go home. For Messi and the Argentine nation it is a bit different: win or you’re not the greatest ever.

Messi has long defied the odds over the course of his prolific career, the “little genius” who stands barely over 5’7” tall in his cleats, slays giants on the pitch. The four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner has won six La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, five Supercopas de Espana, three UEFA Championships, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups while playing for FC Barcelona. Although this many titles may represent achievements that no other player in the history of the sport could ever rival, there has always been one title that has eluded Messi: World Cup Champion.

Leo Messi is not flamboyant like his FC Barcelona counterpart, Neymar. He does not wear earrings, fancy jewelry or sport the latest hairstyle trends. He is not bombastic like his rival Cristiano Ronaldo, you won’t see him out in public with the latest starlet or super model, but nonetheless the eyes of the world are always upon him.

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He is a man of flesh and blood just like all of us, but he carries the pressure and expectations of an entire nation. Every time Messi steps on the pitch the world expects him to be perfection personified, he is not allowed to have flaws, but rather he must be flawless. Expectations such as this are enough to make any mortal man crumble under the sure weight of them, but not Messi, not the man known as “the Flea.” He not only carries them, he quietly relishes them.

Messi has been outstanding this World Cup, netting four goals in five matches for Argentina, including a game winner in extra time against Iran, and the game winning assist to teammate Angel di Maria against Switzerland. Messi and his team are just two wins away from realizing their dream, and shocking the world with a World Cup Championship on Brazilian soil. All the while he has led his team through the group stage and knockout stage with a perfect 5-0 record.

When Messi leads his team on to the pitch on Wednesday, all of Sao Paolo will be rooting for his failure or his triumph. There is no in between, there is no shades of grey. For Messi to forever immortalize himself and get out of Diego Maradona’s shadow, he must hoist the one trophy he has yet to win: el Cupo del Mundo.