Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand does not agree with the often repeated opinion that Lionel Messi must win a World Cup to be considered a true great of the game.
It has often been argued that five time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and his arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo do not deserve to be classed in the same bracket as Pele and Diego Maradona as they have never inspired their respective countries to World Cup glory.
However, Ferdinand believes Messi’s consistency over the last decade or so, when he has won every club honour imaginable and scored over 600 career goals means he will go down as one of the greatest ever.
“No (he doesn’t need to win the World Cup to prove himself),” He told the BBC.
“I argue with my friends all the time about this.
“I look at it like this: sustained greatness beats greatness over a short period of time. It has to.
“The body of work that he’s got over that long 11, 12 years, I think outweighs anything anyone else would do.
“Over Ronaldinho over two or three years at Barcelona, Maradona at a World Cup and a few seasons at Napoli.
“You can’t compare them to the likes of Messi, and we can take it even further even with Cristiano.”
Messi captained Argentina last night as they scraped through to the second round of the World Cup after a narrow 2-1 victory over a valiant Nigiera side, with the Barcelona side opening the scoring with a sublime first-half finish.