Lionel Messi is the greatest player of his generation. The diminutive forward has guided Barcelona to some of the most fruitful years in their history. With six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, and a Balon d’Or, there is nothing at the domestic level that Leo hasn’t won.
There can be no denying that Messi is in the upper echelons of footballing greatness, but he cannot be considered on par with the football gods Pele and Diego Maradona until he wins the World Cup. So, come the summer will Messi be able to inspire his Argentine side to World Club glory and as such potentially usurp Pele and Diego Maradona?
The bookmakers certainly seem to think so. Titan Bet, along with many others, have Argentina down as second favourites for World Cup success. Perhaps the biggest advantage that Messi and Argentina have is their familiarity with the playing conditions. All of the Argentina squad will be familiar with the humidity and oxygen levels that will be encountered in Brazil, something that cannot be said of their European adversaries. Main European rivals Spain and Germany will have to acclimatise to the differing conditions and as such may fail to adapt sufficiently enough to embark on a World Cup push.
With Messi and co being used to the conditions they will be able to hit the ground running, thus building momentum early on, which will play dividends in any successful World Cup run.
If we look to Maradona, he single-handedly carried Argentina to World Cup success in 1986, scoring five goals and picking up the player of the tournament award. Now Messi really is the Maradona reincarnate; he is the best dribbler in the world and his tricky footwork causes opposition defences all sorts of problems. Like Maradona in 1986, Messi is more than capable of carrying Argentina to World Cup success. He has that game-changing ability which makes Argentina a constant threat despite them playing well or not. With Messi’s presence on the pitch you will always feel like he is going to do something and if he arrives in Brazil fully fit and in half-decent form he is going to be nigh on impossible to stop.
You’d be a fool to call Argentina a one-man side. Even without Messi, they still have one of the best striking partnerships in international football in the form of Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. When you include the supporting cast of Angel di Maria, Javier Mascherano, Pablo Zabaleta, Ezequiel Lavezzi and many other household names, it does not take a genius to work out that this Argentina side is one of the deadliest in world football.
This Argentine squad has a natural advantage as well as being unbelievably strong, all of which should see them put in a very strong challenge for world domination. This World Cup really does offer Messi the perfect chance to solidify his claims as the greatest footballer ever. He will match Pele and Maradona in terms of international success, while wiping the floor with them in terms of domestic honours.