Messi has looked ahead to the World Cup, admitting that Argentina must improve to match the likes of Spain, Germany, France and Brazil at next summer’s tournament in Russia.
The 30-year-old dragged his country through qualification, but not before a big scare and the possibility of even missing out on a playoff.
Now, Argentina are drawn in a tricky Group with Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria who beat them 4-2 in a recent friendly game.
Messi is afraid if they fail to meet the expectations of their supporters, the players will have to pay dearly for it.
“We went through a tough spell,” Messi told TyC sports. “But it’s true that we have to improve if we aspire to be world champions.
“As we are today, we are not far from that although there are better teams than us such as Brazil, Germany, France and Spain.
“The criticism went beyond normal and went beyond football. The bitterness we feel is because we know what awaits us if we do badly. “People want results and, if they don’t get results, they want new faces.”