There are multiple factors behind why Lionel Messi enjoys so much success with club giant Barcelona, and has failed to thrive with home nation Argentina.
To many fans of the sport, they don't care about the factors that hold Messi back with Argentina: they just want results.
So far, the world's best player has failed to deliver in international competition. According to his father, Messi is frustrated by his lack of success with Argentina, and is eager to put forth a great effort.
Playing on their home field, Argentina has struggled in two matches in Copa America. Messi has yet to score, or even show flashes of his talented skills like he has with Barcelona.
The lack of attack points to a major failing of Argentina and major asset of Barcelona: midfield. Lacking a creative playmaker like Andres Iniesta and Xavi, Argentina hasn't had the opportunity to give adequate chances to star forwards Gonzalo Higuain or Carlos Tevez, let alone Messi.
When Argentina faces Costa Rica tonight, all eyes will be on the offense. Costa Rica did not bring their best players, so anything short of domination by Argentina will be seen as an embarrassment by home fans and the press.
Argentina has a strong defensive line, and are loaded at defensive midfielder. Sergio Romero is not in the same category as Argentine goalkeepers of the past, but is certainly serviceable to contain a rather weak Costa Rica attack.
Expect a great deal of offense by Argentina for 90 minutes. Messi will require a great deal of touches, so he can work his magic, and he should have plenty of chances to score.
Should the dimunitive offensive star come up short, there will be plenty of harsh criticism.
Tonight's match will be a great opportunity for Messi to silence critics that think his talents are left only to Barcelona.