Ivan Zamorano said Lionel Messi would have monuments all over the county if he were Chilean as the former international suggested the Argentina star is undervalued in his homeland.
Despite being regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi still comes in for criticism from his homeland as he is yet to replicate his club success with the national team.
While Messi has won 28 trophies for the Catalan giants, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been unable to lead Argentina to silverware even after reaching consecutive Copa America deciders and the 2014 World Cup final.
Speaking ahead of Chile's trip to Buenos Aires for Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Argentina, ex-Real Madrid and Inter striker Zamorano insisted Messi - the country's captain and all-time leading goalscorer - must be appreciated on the international stage.
"If Messi were Chilean, he would have monuments all over the country and he would be tired of getting tributes. In Chile he is valued," Zamorano told radio show Super Deportivo.
"Argentinians take into account the differences between Barcelona's Messi and the national team's Messi. In Spain he looks to one side and he has Neymar, looks to the other and he has [Luis] Suarez, looks back and has [Andres] Iniesta and [Sergio] Busquets.
"That's why, you must look the whole picture. I think the best in the world is valued. We must value the effort Messi makes, because he plays between 70 and 80 games per year and, despite that, he comes to play for the national team."
Messi's Argentina are fifth in the South American qualifying section on the road to Russia, a point adrift of fourth-placed Chile after 12 games.