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Diego Maradona's opinion on whether Lionel Messi needed to win a World Cup laid bare

Chris Byfield

| Last updated 

Diego Maradona's opinion on whether Lionel Messi needed to win a World Cup laid bare

Diego Maradona had a controversial take on whether Lionel Messi needed a World Cup to define his legacy.

Maradona cemented his place as one of the football greatest when he inspired Argentina to World Cup glory back in 1986.

And since first lighting up Camp Nou in 2004, Messi has been hounded by critics to repeat Maradona’s feat on the international stage.

Of course, while at Barcelona Messi redefined how the game was played. The Argentinian netted 672 times and claimed a further 266 assists for the Catalan giants while winning seven Ballon d’Ors and every piece of club silverware at his disposal.


However, after a string of disappointments for Argentina both at World Cups and the Copa America the voices of discontent grew louder.

Critics felt that Messi needed to emulate his compatriot, Maradona, by guiding his nation to World Cup glory to cement himself as the greatest of all time.

Maradona, however, disagreed.



Maradona on Messi's legacy

Maradona claimed that Messi’s reputation would not be enhanced by winning a World Cup.

In a throwback interview, the late, great Argentinian said, via The Mirror: "Alone, he will not be able to win the World Cup. You need a solid team for that. Football history will remember Messi.

"Football has given him a lot, as much as he has given the sport and to win a World Cup, in my opinion, wouldn't bring himself anything else."


Of course, Messi did ultimately claim international glory, first winning the Copa America in 2021, before inspiring Argentina to their first World Cup success in 37 years.

Sadly, Maradona died of a heart attack aged just 60 in November 2020, before either success. Following his death, Messi took to Instagram to pay tribute.

He wrote: "A very sad day for all Argentinians and for football. He's leaving us but he is not leaving, because Diego is eternal.

"I'll keep all the beautiful moments I lived with him and I wanted to take the opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football, Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Barcelona, Football World Cup, Argentina

Chris Byfield
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