After Argentina's 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Croatia, it seems likely Messi and Co are headed towards an early exit from the 2018 edition of the the World Cup.
It's certainly true the Albicelestes rely heavily on Messi's to get them through rough patches. After a dismal qualifying campaign and on the brink of being left out of the festivities in Russia, Messi single handedly helped Argentina punch their ticket with a masterful display against Ecuador.
But so far in Russia, Messi has failed to find the spark needed to overcome whatever is ailing the Argentine side. Against Iceland's resolute defending, Messi seemed unable to breakdown his opponents. He even, uncharacteristically, missed a penalty kick.
And then came today's match up with Croatia. Outside of an early chance, there seemed to be little creativity coming from the Barcelona player. Without his innovation in the attacking third, Argentina looked lost at sea. It was truly difficult to watch.
In order to make it to the next round, Argentina will need Messi to channel whatever it was that brought him that performance last fall. Without it, they may be on their way back home much sooner than all of us thought.
But is it all Messi's fault? Sure, he's the talisman. But it's not like there aren't other superstars on the team. Where have they been? Why haven't they taken the initiative? Why haven't they picked up some of the slack?
Messi deserves more from his teammates. If they don't step up, Tuesday may be the last time we see Messi in an Argentina jersey.