Ossie Ardiles, who won the competition with Argentina in 1978, believes his country's captain is ready to make a decisive mark on the tournament.
Ardiles, who won the World Cup with the Albiceleste in 1978 as part of a 52-cap international career, feels the Barcelona forward has been getting closer to rediscovering his best form after an injury-interrupted 2013-14 campaign.
This summer's competition in Brazil, meanwhile, represents the perfect opportunity for Messi to make his mark at a major tournament, after a disappointing showing in South Africa during the last World Cup.
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“This time, Lionel Messi will give the performance we expect of him – I am sure of that,” Ardiles told FIFA’s official website. “I reckon he is determined to have an amazing tournament, both on an individual and team level. He has got supernatural skill, a tactical awareness ahead of his time and can make the impossible look easy.
“He played excellently in the qualifiers and shouldered his responsibilities brilliantly - he was our main goalscorer and one of the most decisive players on the pitch. Until midway through this past season he was carrying an injury that he picked up at the end of the previous campaign, but I can see he is gradually getting back to his best.”
Ardiles was reluctant to compare Messi’s ability to that of his former teammate, Diego Maradona, but was certain that the national team’s captain has already done enough to be considered an all-time great.
The 61-year-old former Tottenham star continued: “Messi should never be compared with any other player - that is a no-no. Every player has their own approach and style and, in my eyes, he is truly incomparable.
“I believe Messi is already one of the five best players in the history of the game. There is no doubt about that and he doesn’t have to win a World Cup to prove it.”
Argentina has two warm-up matches against Trinidad & Tobago and Slovenia to play before the team begins its World Cup campaign against Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 15.