Lionel Messi is, by most accounts, the world’s greatest soccer player. But is he one of the greatest of all-time?
If you ask him, the answer is apparently no. Not until he wins a World Cup for Argentina.
Messi is constantly compared to fellow Argentine Diego Maradona and has arguably surpassed his compatriot in terms of achievements at club level, but many point to the World Cup when judging the Barcelona forward alongside the former Napoli great – his coach at South Africa 2010.
“The comparison with Maradona is a very nice compliment, but not one that I can accept yet,” Messi said.
“He did so much for the national team – and I don’t think any player can be considered a true great until they have won the World Cup.
“I hope that I can do that and I hope I can do that this summer – but until then I don’t talk about me as the best.”
Messi, who turns 27 on June 24, has played in two World Cups for Argentina, becoming the youngest in the country’s history to play and score in a World Cup game in 2006 (Argentina lost to Germany in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks) and was on the Golden Ball short list in 2010, when Argentina again lost to Germany in the quarterfinals.
Maradona led Argentina to its most recent World Cup title in 1986 at the age of 25.