'Football needs Messi to lift the World Cup' - Barca star already great even if he fails in Russia, says Crespo

Comments()
Getty Images
The mercurial forward continues to face suggestions that global success with Argentina is needed to be the greatest, but a fellow countryman disagrees

Football needs a Lionel Messi World Cup win more than the Barcelona and Argentina requires global glory, claims Hernan Crespo.

The mercurial forward is already assured of a standing among the all-time greats, but his claims to the title of ‘greatest ever’ continue to be questioned due to a lack of international success.

With the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona having inspired Brazil and Argentina to World Cup triumphs in the past, it has been suggested that Messi must do likewise in order to enjoy similar status.

Crespo, though, believes that Messi has nothing left to prove and that victory in Russia this summer would be welcomed more by the wider sporting community than the man himself.

The former Argentina striker, speaking at Astro’s World Cup coverage, the official broadcaster of Malaysia, said: "I don’t think it will be enough for some people, so nothing changes.

"For him and my country, I’m hopeful he wins.

"Johan Cryuff didn’t need to lift the World Cup to be the best in the history. [Alfredo] Di Stefano the same.

"Football needs Messi to lift the World Cup, not vice versa."

While Messi will undoubtedly lead Argentina’s charge on Russian soil, national coach Jorge Sampaoli is yet to decide who will partner the Barcelona superstar.

There are several options in the mix, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi all proven performers at the highest level in Europe.

Crespo added on that selection dilemma: "It depends on what Sampaoli wants.

"If you want to play wide and make crosses, I think Icardi is the best. If you want to play in the middle with faster passes, then I think Higuain and Aguero are the best.

"I don’t understand what our identity is. At this moment, there are a lot of young players but the World Cup is only two months away."

Lionel Messi doesn't need World Cup win Hernan Crespo

Crespo has also questioned Argentina’s options in the middle of the pitch, with that considered to be the greatest area of concern for a side blessed with world-class performers at opposing ends of the field.

A man who represented his country on 64 occasions in his playing days, netting 35 goals, is, however, of the opinion that the Albiceleste will be there or thereabouts when the biggest prize in football is handed out.

Article continues below

He added on Argentina’s chances: "I think we are competitive. I don’t want to be in Sampaoli’s shoes and say who should start or not. I don’t think that’s the right way to help. I only speak when I'm watching on the television or at the stadium.

"At this moment, I only want Argentina to be competitive. The bad results, conceding six to Spain and four to Nigeria, are matches for the coach to know who should be in the World Cup.

"Argentina depends on Argentina. This Argentina, in normal circumstances, won’t have a problem with Iceland, Croatia or Nigeria. The problem will come when we start the first knockout match. We will win the group and go through. We are one of the favourites but we are also one step down from Brazil, Germany and Spain."

Next article:
Wolves vs Leicester City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview
Next article:
Pogba needs to be left to create, even if he makes mistakes - Rooney
Next article:
'I'd go all out for Pochettino' - Rooney urges Man Utd to move for Tottenham boss
Next article:
Klopp feels sympathy for fans who want Liverpool to fail in title race
Next article:
We're the hunters! - Kovac's Bayern ready to chase down Dortmund
Close