Diego Maradona says Lionel Messi does not need to win a World Cup to prove he is one of football’s greatest players.
Maradona has responded to recent comments by his former teammate, Hector Enrique, that Messi will never be better than the 53-year-old Argentine legend.
But the 1986 World Cup winner says his countryman is already amongst the world’s greatest, regardless whether his country will win the trophy in Brazil this summer.
"It would be great for Argentina, the fans and for him, but winning a World Cup or not won't take away any of his achievements up to now to be among the greatest,” Maradona said.
"Messi had an exceptional World Cup with me (in 2010) and no-one said so.”
Under Maradona as their manager, Argentina went on the back of four victories into the quarter-final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but were thrashed 4-0 by Germany.
"I approached him and told him he'd have many World Cups to get revenge,” Maradona continued.
"I said it with all my heart. While the rest were thinking about our return home he was there, head bowed, crying."
For the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, Maradona sees Spain, Germany and the hosts as the favourites, but questions Brazil’s attacking options.
"There's Spain, Germany and there's Brazil with a tremendous defence,” he added.
"You think of Brazil's defence and six or seven names come to mind, you think of their attack and there's only Neymar.
"For Messi, it will be a test of character, to bring out all that crying he has in his heart. Brazil can be his great revenge."
Does Messi need a World Cup medal to be regarded as one of the World’s Greatest? Have your say in the comment section below.