'Messi won't lead Argentina to World Cup glory like Maradona'

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Ahead of Qatar 2022, Lionel Messi has been tipped to once again fail to replicate Argentina legend Diego Maradona's massive feat of guiding the country to FIFA World Cup glory. 

While the debate over who the greatest player of all time is remains hugely contested, there has been a longstanding argument that Messi needs to win the global showpiece in order to be considered better than his idol Maradona, who inspired the South American nation to glory in the 1986 edition of the tournament in Mexico. 

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Last year, the 35-year-old finally won the Copa America trophy after reaching his fourth final, bringing a long-awaited end to his international trophy drought.

For some, there is now an expectation for the Paris Saint-Germain superstar to achieve success in the biggest football competition in the world when he heads to Qatar later this year.

However, Marcel Desailly, a champion of the 1998 instalment with France, believes the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is not up to the task despite his immense quality.

"Messi remains an exceptional player, but he never made a World Cup like Maradona in 1986," the Les Bleus legend told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"He is able to defy the elements if the opponent gives him space because he is a 'killer'.

"But in a World Cup, there are no coincidences.

"You need continuity in performance and I don't believe that one individual can still hold a team and make the difference in an entire tournament. 

"It was already complicated, but from my generation, it was no longer possible. And I don't think the players around Messi can raise their level.

"In such a context, there is a decompression. When you have players who are not top-flight, they lose their abilities over the matches."

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Messi reached the final with the Albiceleste at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which Argentina lost to Germany, while in 2018, the CONMEBOL giants bowed out at the round of 16 stage after a 4-3 defeat to eventual champions France.

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