Argentina’s best player has admitted he would do anything to become a World Cup winner this summer
Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has said he would swap one of his many Ballon d’Or titles to win the World Cup in Brazil next month.
Messi is preparing for his third crack at winning the tournament this summer, having featured in Germany 2006 and South Africa in 2010. He also became the youngest player to score for the nation in 2006, netting against Serbia.
But Messi’s legacy as one of the greatest to have ever played the game is missing one essential accolade, a World Cup. It is often said he will not truly overtake countryman Diego Maradona as Argentina’s best ever player, if he does not match his win back in 1986.
The 26-year-old admits winning a World Cup is the pinnacle of achievement for any player, and that he would swap his individual titles to get his hands on the famous trophy.
“It would mean everything. For any player, winning the World Cup is as good as it gets,” Messi said in FourFourTwo magazine.
“Each title I’ve won has been important and forms part of my career, and the World Cup is the biggest there is.
“Would I swap a Ballon d’Or for a World Cup winners’ medal? Yes.”
Messi has scored 37 times for his country in a career that should see him make at least one more World Cup after Brazil.
The Barcelona man will be only too aware that time is running out to join the elite group of players such as Pele, Zidane and Maradona who have all excelled at club level, but have also won a World Cup.
Messi may not get a better chance to add the final, most prestigious accolade to his list of achievements. Argentina, with the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuaín also in attack and competing in a climate they are well used to, have high expectations upon them to succeed.