What’s the story?
Former Spain and Real Madrid coach Jose Antonio Camacho reckons that Lionel Messi’s inability to inspire his national team to World Cup glory denies the Argentina captain the status of the greatest player in football’s history.
In case you didn’t know…
The FIFA World Cup trophy is the prize that continues to elude Messi as the Barcelona captain’s legacy endures prolonged questions for the lack of international glory with Argentina.
La Albiceleste won an Olympic gold medal in 2008, but have been in the midst of an endless cycle of near-misses after tasting defeat in the 2014 World Cup final. The side further lost consecutive Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016, inviting scathing criticism towards Messi.
The 32-year-old maestro is often criticised for his inability to replicate his scintillating club form for his national team and faced a similar predicament when Argentina crashed out of this summer’s Copa America after a defeat to Brazil in the semi-finals.
Messi further made the headlines for accusing CONMEBOL of rigging the South American tournament for the Selecao to win. He has since been handed a ban and a fine for the comments.
The heart of the matter
While Camacho maintains that he is a fan of Messi, he believes the Argentine cannot be remembered as the best player of all time unless he wins a World Cup.
“Messi is a very good player, but you can’t be the best in the world, or history if you’re Argentine and don’t win a World Cup.
“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.”
When asked if the Blaugrana should ever sell the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, he replied,
“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.”
After missing Barcelona’s La Liga opener last weekend, owing to an injury, Messi could face Real Betis on Sunday.