Owen: Messi needs to win World Cup to reach Maradona status

The former England international who made his mark at the World Cup as well, feels the Argentine captain needs to claim the trophy to be regarded as a true great
By Charles Ong | Correspondent, Goal Singapore

It was his slaloming run from Barcelona’s own half, spanning 60 metres and beating six Gefate players, as Lionel Messi scored arguably the goal of his career on April 18, 2007.

A carbon-copy of Diego Maradona’s effort against England in the 1986 Mexico World Cup, Messi is now being spoken of in the same breath as his predecessor in terms of greatness.

While the Argentina captain is the only player to win four Ballon d’Ors to date, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes that Messi must win the World Cup with Argentina to be regarded as the finest ever.

Owen himself is no stranger to scoring spectacular goals, as his World Cup debut in 1998 produced one of the competition's most memorable moments, with the then 18-year-old skipping past several Argentina players to net for England, not unlike Messi.

“I think lots of people believe that you have to perform at the World Cup and actually win it to be regarded as being up there with Maradona,” he told Goal Singapore.

“Maybe this is his time. He is at the peak of his career and Argentina have a good chance to win it. If they do then Messi will be regarded together with Maradona."

Despite being only 27, the Barcelona forward has broken a string of records to date. Most notably, he became the club’s all-time highest goal-scorer at a tender age of 24. In 2012, he scored an astonishing 91 goals, thus breaking Gerd Mueller’s 40-year record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

“His club performances certainly merit that but I think most people want to see him do it for Argentina at the World Cup to be able to put them both in the same bracket,” the former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker added.