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Lionel Messi’s stratospheric ascent to four consecutive FIFA Ballon D’Or titles began when manager Pep Guardiola deemed him the savior of FC Barcelona in 2008. However, the quality and consistency of his performances for Argentina have yet to match his club form. The revenue generated by Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League competition has allowed for him to be surrounded by superior players with whom he is able to play more frequently - and against superior opposition - than with his national side. This has led to media in Argentina expressing disappointment with his commitment to the Albicelestes (sky blue and whites).
Success at the 2014 World Cup will be the biggest factor in whether he can wrestle the Ballon d’Or back from Cristiano Ronaldo, but more important, a final win for Argentina could establish Messi as the greatest player of all time.