"I think it's the last opportunity for this group. It's going to be very hard for anyone to continue because we have already been here for a number of years".
Messi, who has won eight LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues with Barcelona, does not think about his failures with Argentina, though he feels they deserved to triumph at the last hurdle at least twice.
Messi said: "Mascherano? I'm not going to tell you what he told me, but I'll understand if he leaves, he wants to play more".
"I never went back over the finals we lost".
"I would have to review them to see what we did wrong so we don't repeat them".
"Brazil are very good, Spain have great players, Germany is strong, France have a good team - today they are all at a higher level than us. He has to be [in the team] because he is vital, he is one of the best forwards in the world and he always shows it".
As well as losing to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, Argentina were also defeated by Chile in successive Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016.
Messi himself has also been left out of the team in recent weeks.
"Criticism does hurt him and we've talked about this many times".
Argentina and Nigeria will play at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Novgorod on 21 June. I think this period off global duty was good for him, though, as he has been able to focus on training and improving his fitness levels. The bitterness we feel is because we know what awaits us if we do badly.
Higuain has scored nine goals and bagged three assists in 13 Serie A starts for Juventus who are in third place in the table, two points behind leaders Inter Milan.