Saviola: Messi's hurt he hasn't won Argentina the World Cup - but he can do it in 2022!

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Lionel Messi Argentina 2018
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The Barcelona star's former team-mate thinks he can still win the major title for his country that has eluded him up to now in his career

Former Argentina striker Javier Saviola insists that Lionel Messi is "hurt" by the fact he has not been able to inspire his country to win the World Cup, but insists there is still time for him to make it happen.

The 37-year-old played alongside Messi at club and international level, with Saviola featuring for Barcelona between 2001 and 2007, before he made a controversial move to rivals Real Madrid.

Despite Messi having played a huge role in Barca's trophy successes during his 14-plus years with the club up to now, he has, as yet, failed to deliver glory for Argentina.

Saviola thinks that could change at the Qatar World Cup in 2022, however, and still believes he is the best player in the world, regardless of the fact that international honours have proved elusive up to now.

He told Goal: "Messi, unfortunately, has not yet managed to win any trophy or tournament for the national team and the Argentine fans are very demanding. I was Leo's colleague, I know what he feels about the country and how much it hurts when things don't go as he would like.

"The most important thing is to trust that everything will go well and I believe that the next World Cup will be for Argentina.

"Considering the results, because he played great matches - he played three times the Copa America final and was runner-up in a World Cup, although unfortunately he never managed to win.

"Still, Messi is the best in the world and maybe in history. We are always looking forward to winning some competition with Argentina, which is what we need to conquer. Playing for the National Team is different, because Argentina is not Barcelona.

"In Barcelona they train all year long, players have been together for many years and all the methods are different. I think that's the big difference."

Javier Saviola Lionel Messi Argentina 2006

Saviola was also asked about Messi's rivalry with Diego Maradona for the mantle of Argentina's greatest ever player, but the one-time Benfica striker, whose former side face Galatasaray in the Europa League on Thursday, insists he's just happy they're both from his country. 

He added: "This question is very difficult to answer because we are talking about two very different time periods. Maradona was for us an emblematic player, who gave us a World Cup. They are very different players, from very different times.

"As an Argentinean, I can only feel proud to have the two best players in the world in a period of 30 years. More important than comparing them is enjoying the honour of having them both."

Discussing his time at Barca and then Madrid, Saviola admits that he gave everything for the Catalans but that he ultimately had no choice but to change direction and leave the club in 2007.

He said: "I arrived in Barcelona at a difficult time, a moment of great change, in which the club needed to win championships. I always gave everything I had for the club and fought to do things well.

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"I really enjoyed the time I was in Barcelona, but it's always a decision for the coaches to choose players they most identify with for their type of playing. With Frank Rijkaard I was not an option and I had to look for a new direction.

"They [Barca and Madrid] are two huge clubs. Full of history and players of tremendous quality. I can not say which is the best - in both I have lived unique experiences and played with the best players in the world.

"It makes no sense to compare them, they always treated me well and respected me a lot. They are undoubtedly two of the best clubs in the world."