Despite everything he’s achieved during his glittering career, there are some people who believe Lionel Messi cannot be considered the greatest footballer of all time because, unlike others legends such as Diego Maradona and Pele, he hasn’t managed to win a World Cup.
The Barcelona and Argentina legend came agonisingly close to landing his hands on football’s most prestigious trophy on July 13, 2014.
But Mario Gotze’s winning goal in extra-time sealed victory for Germany at Argentina’s expense.
Messi, who captained his country at the tournament in Brazil, was just 26 years old at the time and arguably at the absolute peak of his powers.
He’d scored four goals in the previous rounds and had the opportunity to cement his status as the best footballer ever.
Messi wasn’t at his scintillating best in the final, although he was still a threat whenever he received the ball.
The world-class forward and his teammates - Gonzalo Higuain, in particular - spurned several good chances to score during the match.
And Messi bravely watched them back, just one year after the 2014 World Cup, for a FIFA.com video.
Watch the clip here...
We see Messi’s face as he watches his own missed opportunity and you can clearly sense the pain was still very raw.
“I don’t know, what can I say… it’s a pity,” Messi says after watching himself send the ball wide of Manuel Neuer’s far post.
“It’s a pity given all the chances we had in that game. We had the better chances and, well… we'll regret the chances we had but couldn't score for the rest of our lives.”
Will Messi ever get a better chance to win a World Cup? Potentially not.
Argentina failed to impress at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, crashing out in the Round of 16 after losing 4-3 to France.
By the time the next World Cup rolls around in 2022, Messi will be 35 years old.
Of course, it’s more than possible that Messi will still be the world’s best player by that point.
Despite his advancing years, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner consistently produces match-winning performances.
But in order to win the next World Cup, Messi will need Argentina to have improved significantly as a team.
No player can win a World Cup single-handedly. The idea that Maradona did just that in 1986 is a myth, even though he was unquestionably the tournament’s standout performer.
Messi, let’s not forget, was crowned the 2014 World Cup’s best player minutes after losing the final.
Never before has a footballer looked less enthused at winning a major individual award.
For Messi, only one trophy mattered that night. Sadly, it was the one which slipped away.
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