The Argentina international is a player with a unique set of qualities that has made him one of the finest footballers around but his legacy as the best player ever will remain questionable unless he wins a World Cup, according to former Spain manager Jose Antonio Camacho.
Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or five times. He has also claimed the Champions League trophy four times, the Spanish La Liga title 10 times, the Spanish Cup six times, and the Spanish Super Cup eight times.
The Barcelona forward has scored 603 goals and got 242 assists in his 687 career matches so far, and has been the catalyst as Barcelona dominated Spain and Europe in the last decade.
But aside helping Argentina pick up an Olympic gold medal in 2008, the 32-year-old has not won any international title for his country. Argentina have not won the Copa America since 1993 or the World Cup since 1986, the year of Diego Maradona.
This prompted the former Real Madrid manager to maintain that because Messi is Argentine, he is never going to be considered greater than is more illustrious compatriot unless he wins the World Cup.
“Messi is a very good player, but you can’t be the best in the world, or in history, if you’re Argentine and don’t win a World Cup,” Camacho said in an interview with ABC in Spain as monitored by Soccernet.ng
“There are countries with less tradition and not winning a World Cup may be less significant. But Argentina is a force. No, without a Messi World Cup, you can’t be the best (ever).”
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The 64-year-old insists he is not in doubt of Messi’s talent and would never sell him if he was in charge at the Catalan club.
“I would keep him, without any doubt.
“He can change the game at any time. There may be total equality between two teams but he can suddenly unbalance it. He would make me look like a good coach.’
And who is the greatest footballer of all time?
“Because of his speed, his dribbling, and his goal scoring he is the best player I have ever seen… With the talent he had, if he had taken his career as seriously as Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, he would still be active today,” Camacho concluded.