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Messi will only surpass Maradona if he wins FIFA World Cup 2018 for Argentina: Pirlo

Messi will only surpass Maradona if he wins FIFA World Cup 2018: Pirlo

Moscow, June 13: Former World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo has insisted that Argentine legend Lionel Messi will have to win a World Cup to overtake his fellow countryman Diego Maradona to emerge as one of the best players of all time.

The 30-year-old Argentine has won all the best possible trophies at club football with Barcelona and has already broken numerous records. The five Ballon'dor winner is regarded by many as the best footballer in history and many even placed him as a better player than another Argentine magician Maradona. However, Italy midfielder Pirlo now has spoken a little different.

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Messi with Argentina has only one accolade which an Olympic Gold Medal, however, his compatriot Maradona who is regarded as one of the best footballers guided a minnow Argentine side to a 1986 World Cup victory single-handedly.

In the last edition of the World cup in 2014, the 5 ft 7-inch attacker too almost single-handedly took his Latin American side to the final, however, could not achieve the ultimate glory.

The former Juventus and AC Milan midfielder now pointing out Messi's lack of international trophies has suggested that Messi will only surpass Napoli legend Diego Maradona if he wins this month's World Cup.

“It will be important for both Messi himself and for Argentina to win the World Cup in Russia,” Pirlo told.

“Messi is always compared to Maradona but he needs to win the World Cup because if you don’t win the World Cup you can’t be up there with the very best.”

Argentina will start their campaign against Iceland before facing Croatia and Nigeria in Group D. However, ahead of the final stage their preparations have been filled with challenges.

They were thrashed 6-1 by Spain in a recent friendly and saw their last game against Israel cancelled. But the 2006 world cup winner with Italy has reckoned that despite the Latin American sides initial struggle at the group stage and friendlies he believes the current squad will fight for the ultimate glory.

“Argentina have had the time now to improve and find the right players for the World Cup and I think they are going to do well in Russia despite the big loss they had against Spain,” the Italian stated.

“Argentina have a lot of good players and if their top players perform they are going to do well.”

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    Story first published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 13:30 [IST]
    Other articles published on Jun 13, 2018
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