One of the most compelling narratives of the tournament will surely revolve around reigning FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and whether he can transfer his brilliance with Barca onto the international stage for Argentina. Aleksandar Hemon wrote about Messi (and the help he gets from his teammates) in April for TNR:

This column was supposed to be about Messi, as he seems to be having a perfect season. He has scored 40 goals for Barca in his 45 appearances, 27 in La Liga alone. He has had a number of classic performances—say, all four goals in Barcelona’s demolition of Arsenal, or the week in March when he scored eight goals in three games. But as great as he is, as memorable as his season has been, he owes so much to his team—which he knows and shows—that it is impossible to talk about him without talking about Xavi and Barcelona’s philosophy of soccer.

To read the entire piece, click here.