The 2018 World Cup begins in just under a month and the world is fervently counting down the days. With the World Cup comes the biggest names in world football as they all look to produce the goods on the world stage. In Russia, we’ll see Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and of course, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi try to lead their respective nations to World Cup glory.
As a 5-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the best players to ever grace the game. His yearly exploits at Barcelona have made him beloved by millions across the globe. However, despite having an illustrious career, Messi has never truly experienced success with his country. Many of his detractors love to hold this against him, but regardless of what happens in Russia, Messi’s legacy should stay intact.
Here’s why Lionel Messi’s legacy shouldn’t hinge on World Cup glory.
Close to International Success
Lionel Messi may be one of the best players ever, but even he can’t subsidise for the failings of those around him. In the past five years, the 30-year-old has led his nation to two Copa America finals and a World Cup final.
In all three of those tournaments, he’s been labelled as the best player of the competition. He’s tried his best but those around him have failed him dearly. It’s not his fault that Gonzalo Higuaín and Angel Di Maria have had notable shockers in those same finals while Sergio Agüero has had constant injury problems.
Club Football >> International Football
It’s no locker room secret that the standard of club football has reached the pinnacle of footballing excellence in recent years. The UEFA Champions League is, without doubt, the highest quality tournament in the world, the best players in the world are all present in those tournaments.
In fact, at the World Cup, players like Arjen Robben, Marco Verratti, Alexis Sánchez, Gareth Bale and Arturo Vidal will all be missing. These are the same players that competed in this year’s Champions League. Once again proving that the best always compete in the UCL while they don’t always make it to the World Cup due to the incompetence of their national teammates.
In his Barcelona career, the Argentinean has won the Champions League on four separate occasions, that’s what you call excellence. In that same time, he’s won the La Liga nine times, while Cristiano Ronaldo has only won it twice. Diego Maradona and Pele have won the World Cup, but they didn’t achieve near to half of what Messi has done at club level. Does that mean their respective legacies should be tainted? No. So, let’s be consistent with our logic.
Lionel Messi has proven himself at the pinnacle of club football, proving he doesn’t need the World Cup to validate his career. How can a man whoo has scored 383 goals in 417 club appearances need an overhyped tournament to cement his legacy? World Cup glory would just add be another bullet point on an already jam-packed resume.