Former Manchester United and Chelsea midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron believes Lionel Messi does not need to win the World Cup with Argentina in order to be considered one of the greatest footballers of all-time.
Despite a glittering club record at Barcelona, questions over Messi’s performances for the national team continue to surround him even going into Brazil, after failing to shine at both the 2006 and 2010 tournaments.
Veron however maintains that World Cup success is not the be all and end all and that the four-time Ballon d’Or-winner has already done enough in his career to be regarded as one of the legends of the game.
‘For me, Messi will always be the best. He doesn’t need the obsession of winning a World Cup to be considered one of the greatest of all-time,’ he said. ‘In football there are many great players who haven’t won a World Cup and they are still legends. Therefore I don’t think Messi needs to win the World Cup.’
After a slow start in the opening match against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Messi and Argentina eventually kicked into life after a tactical change by manager Alejandro Sabella to grab a 2-1 win over their Group F rivals, the Barca star netting what turned out be the winner on the night.
With further fixtures against Iran and Nigeria to come, the side will be looking to live up to their billing as one of the pre-tournament favourites, as their captain and talisman carries much of the burden of expectations with him.
At 26 years old, this could well be the last World Cup at which we see Messi at the height of his powers and, though he may already be considered an all-time great regardless, the coming weeks will no doubt prove crucial in determining where he is placed alongside other legends of the game when all is said and done.