Former England boss has his say on Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar

Lionel Messi 2

Sven Goran Eriksson believes Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi must use the World Cup to become known as one of the greatest players of all time.

Lionel Messi became Barcelona's all-time leading scorer back in March when he scored his 371st strike to end Paulino Alcantara's 81-year record.

The 26-year-old is also the only player in history to win the Ballon d'Or accolade four times, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of the modern era.

However, his few detractors have claimed that the Barca forward has not hit those heights at international level with Argentina, and at the upcoming World Cup, former England boss Eriksson has claimed that it is now or never for Messi.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the Swede said: "This is [Messi's] chance to be as big as Diego Maradona. And if he doesn't take it now, it will never happen.

"If you like football, you like him because it is art. What he can do with the ball, in no space at all, I've not seen anyone else do it."

Eriksson also revealed how a team can stop Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo in Brazil.

The Real Madrid forward capped a superb season in the Spanish capital with a Copa del Rey and Champions League triumph, but Eriksson explained how he halted Ronaldo while coaching the Ivory Coast at the 2010 World Cup.

"Our tactic against him in South Africa was not to let him turn with the ball," added Eriksson. "If he turns and he's one against one he beats you with pace and technique and he's gone. He didn't disturb us very much. We drew 0-0 but we were the better team."

Finally, Eriksson has backed Brazil for World Cup glory in their homeland, and thinks La Selecao star Neymar can live up to his billing in South America.

"If I had to choose, it would be Brazil," he said. "I don't think they are as good as the 2002 team that beat England but I think it is going to be very difficult to beat them at home, despite the huge pressure that is on them. This is the chance for Neymar to show if we can call him the new Pele."

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch