Lionel Messi during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Jun 26, 2018; St. Petersburg, Russia; Argentina player Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Nigeria in Group D play during the FIFA World Cup 2018 at St. Petersburg Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pro Shots/Sipa USA via USA TODAY Sports

Argentinian soccer legend Lionel Messi must have seemed to have the weight of the world was on his shoulders. After losing one heartbreaking major final after another with Argentina, it looked like one of the two greatest players of his generation would bow out of the 2018 World Cup in the group stage.

Messi has had to deal with insane expectations, a disappointing supporting cast, constant comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo, and if that wasn’t enough, now he’s basically coaching the national team too.

All things considered, a little extra good luck probably wouldn’t hurt. And as it turns out, Messi had some good mojo, karma, and the life force of the universe on his side.

After Argentina’s dramatic victory over Nigeria propelled La Albiceleste to the knockout round, Messi met with a reporter who had given him a good luck charm after Argentina’s disappointing draw with Iceland. He assumed Messi had just thrown it away. However, when being interviewed after the Nigeria win, Messi shocked the reporter by showing him that he was in fact wearing it around his ankle still almost two weeks later.

Even if you’re not bilingual, Messi’s wry smile and the reporter’s stunned reaction pointing to the sky tells you everything you need to know.

That’s a pretty awesome gesture from one of the best and most famous athletes in the world. And if it was good enough to get Messi and Argentina through the group stage when everything was seemingly turning against them, hopefully it will help them find success in the marquee Round of 16 game against France on Saturday.

[H/TSports Illustrated]