Brazil legend, Ronaldo de Lima, has insisted that Lionel Messi doesn’t need to win the World Cup to be considered one of football’s greatest players.
At only 26, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner has won every club honour with Barcelona and is widely regarded as one of the best players in football history.
Ronaldo has dismissed claims that Messi needs to win the World Cup with Argentina to be considered a legend and says he can even still win football’s biggest tournament.
“He can win that (the World Cup). He has not retired yet, has he? And he is only 26,” the 1994 and 2002 World Cup winner told The Times of India.
“Moreover, in the history of football, there are players who did not win the World Cup but are considered as great as any other footballer.
“If you win the World Cup, it gives your status a boost. However, if you cannot, you can still be among the all-time best.
“I saw him (Messi) in Barcelona in his early years there and spoke about him with Ronaldinho. Ronaldinho was full of praise for the boy and when we saw him, we knew why Ronaldinho was so appreciative.”
Messi has only scored one World Cup goal so far, but the three-time World Player of the Year insists the Argentina captain is a ‘different class’.
“Messi is really a different class. To win four consecutive Ballon d'Ors is a great achievement,” he added.
The 26-year-old is currently preparing with Argentina and will open his World Cup campaign against Bosnia and Herzegovina on 15 June.
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