The 2014 World Cup in Brazil has kicked off with a bang, with stars like Neymar, Robin van Persie, and Mario Balotelli scoring goals. But nobody is under more scrutiny than the three time FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona star, who struggled to regain form this season after sustaining an injury earlier in the year, has yet to take Argentina to major success in an international competition. And for this reason, Messi is under immense pressure to perform in this tournament and bring his nation the FIFA World Cup trophy they haven’t had since 1986.

Messi is a three-time European Golden Boot winner, but has only ever been able to amass one single goal in his previous eight world cup matches. While the Golden Ball trophy is the ultimate prize, oddsmakers still consider Messi the favorite to win the FIFA World Cup's Golden Boot trophy this year at 7/1

Playing in the shadows of the great Diego Maradona, the 26-year-old Messi has lacked in producing consistent quality performances for the national team, and is seen as having neglected his home country after leaving for Spain as a child to go train at La Masia, the famous Barcelona youth academy.

The Albiceleste comes into this tournament with an extremely talented side featuring superstars playing their trade all over Europe. Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, and Javier Mascherano will all look to supplement Messi in Argentina’s opening match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday.

Fans in Argentina will hope for them to bring home the trophy, and for Messi, the Golden Boot trophy. But on an individual level, this tournament is an opportunity for Messi to prove to his detractors that he is capable of performing with his national team, and not just his club side. The Argentine populace will not accept anything other than a victorious tournament, but for Lionel Messi this tournament can lift The Flea out from Maradona’s shadow once and for all.