Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the best in soccer today and, by some, even one of the greatest of all time.
With the World Cup starting soon, maybe we should slow down with the talk of greatest of all time. Messi has played in two World Cup tournaments and has not made it beyond the semifinals.
Some might say that a person’s talent cannot be measured by winning a single tournament. In 2011 former World Cup winner Ossie Ardiles told Harry Harris of ESPN, “I certainly do not subscribe to the argument most widely held against Messi that he needs to be a winner at the World Cup like Diego and Pele before he can be the world's greatest ever player.”
Ardiles claims, “It is an accident sometimes that you are born in a country of few inhabitants with little to no chance of that country playing in the World Cup.”
I did not fully understand how that was relevant towards Messi however when the last time Argentina did not qualify for the World Cup was in 1970.
“I would now say that Lionel Messi will go down in history as the No. 1 player of all time, the best that there ever was,” Ardiles said.
But then some people, who have opinions a bit more relevant toward the matter, would say otherwise. "I don't think any player can be considered a true great until they have won the World Cup," Messi told Thomas Unsworth of Goal.com
If you think of who the best ever is, you may argue for Pele, Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, Diego Maradona or Zinedine Zidane. Each of these players not only have won the World Cup, but they all performed great in the World Cup tournaments.
Winning a World Cup may not be absolutely necessary, but the tournament is the largest in the sport and Messi at least needs to be a leader for his team on the biggest stage.
Pelé scored 12 goals in 14 World Cup matches. He also is one of only two players two ever score in four separate World Cup tournaments. Ronaldo scored 15 goals in 19 matches. Maradona scored five goals in the 1986 World Cup including two goals in both the quarter and semi-finals. Zidane played for France and won the 1996 FIFA World Cup in France and had two goals in the championship match against Brazil.
Out of eight World Cup matches, Messi has scored only one goal. In order for him to be remembered as the best, he must first accomplish something memorable while the whole world is watching.
He is a great team player and has a tremendous all-around game. Unfortunately he simply has an incomplete resume.
At only 26 years old, Messi already has the record for the most Player of the Year awards with four, and that number could continue to rise. With a World Cup victory in 2014 and strong play for a few more years, he could separate himself and stand alone as the greatest of all time.
"I hope that I can do that and I hope I can do that this summer,” Messi said. “But until then I don't talk about me as the best."
On June 15, Messi begins his journey to prove to the world as well as himself that he is one of the best players ever. Argentina faces off against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.