Argentina ace Lionel Messi needs to triumph at the World Cup if he is to “seal his legacy” and cement his place as the best footballer ever, Jurgen Klinsmann claims.
The FC Barcelona forward has been the most dominant player of his generation since first making his debut for Barcelona almost 13 years ago as a 17-year-old starlet.
Since then, the 29-year-old has won a record haul of five Ballon d’Or titles and has claimed 29 honours in the Blaugrana shirt.
In stark contrast, apart from winning the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Rosario native has struggled to earn silverware on the international stage, famously finishing as runners-up in the 2014 World Cup against Germany, and losing to Chile on two occasions during the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals.
Nevertheless, Klinsmann insists next year’s World Cup in Russia is Messi’s best chance of winning the world title and believes La Pulga is thoroughly deserving of the accolade.
“There’s a chance he’ll get it in Russia next year,” Klinsmann told Goal.
“A player like Messi needs to seal his legacy by winning the World Cup. I want him to win it because he deserves it.”
Asked if he thought Messi is better than legendary compatriot Diego Maradona, the former Germany forward claims he admires both players and insists both players bring different qualities onto the pitch.
“I admire Messi, I’ve always admired him,” he continued.
“But I also admire Maradona, especially because I played against him several times, in Inter against Napoli and in Argentina versus Germany. He is an artist because he saw what anyone else couldn’t see.
“He knew what he was doing and what he was going to do, even before he got the ball. He was always an artist in the field.
“Messi is different, he is a perfectionist. He’s a great character because he’s humble. He has one main quality: he’s a great scorer.”