Does Messi need to win the World Cup to be compared with Maradona?

Dan’s World Cup diary

There is a narrative building in South America that Messi needs to win in Russia to cement his status as GOAT. The comparison of course is that Maradona single-handedly carried Argentina to the World Cup in 1986 and as long as he has that medal and Messi doesn’t people won’t hear the debate.

It’s often ignored the difference in longevity in terms of playing at the highest level. While one eventually became distracted by vices that surround fame and fortune, the other for over a decade has produced statistics that has left his peers in awe. Due to consistency one has a bigger trophy cabinet then the other.

Their professolism cannot be compared, one a role model who has coped with stardom, the other a flawed genius, famous for activities off the pitch as much as on it. Considering all of that it feels crazy that some would be as short sighted to judge everything on a month long tournament that only happens every 4 years. It shows how football mad Argentines are but also how ungrateful.

The accusation that Messi has never produced his Barcelona form when wearing blue and white stripes is a myth. 4 years ago, when, like now, his teammates were written off because of an average defence, when again it was evident fellow world class strikers were hiding behind him, they got all the way to a final, with Messi picking up player of the tournament as well.

As a youngster he won an gold medal at the Olympics, something his nation take seriously. Meanwhile under his guidance his team have got to three Copa America finals. Unlike for his club, internationally he has been the bridesmaid and never the bride, the few times in his life where he didn’t get his way, loser medals that confirm he is human. Heartbreaking? Of course. A stick to beat his legacy with?

Time for perspective? Imagine if we lost a major final. Open bus parades, knight hoods would be demanded. We still celebrate a semi final loss at Euro 96. A documentary was made to honour getting to the last 4 in 1990. We marvel at Banks save vs Pele and Owen’s goal at France 98 in results where we lost. Paul Gasgoine became a national treasure for crying at Italia 90. Yet Messi finds himself failing in the next few weeks acting as a reflection of his career. How often we want to see people fall, to be replaced by the latest favourite flavour of the month?

All neutrals want Messi to get his hands on the famous trophy but I’m not sure his country deserve it for the disrespect they have shown.


  1. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    But could he do it on a cold night in Stoke?

    Only if he signs for a championship club

    1. gotanidea says:

      Yes, he must win a World Cup and win a major league title for a smaller club with less resources, to be bigger than the other legends. He has broken many records in modern major football competitions, a feat that is more difficult to achieve than the ones in the past, but he lacks what Maradona has

      For me, Messi is the best player I have ever seen as compared to Maradona and Pele. Because he is a combination between world class midfield general, playmaker and goalgetter

      But if he really wants to be bigger than both Maradona and Pele, he has to win this World Cup (which I don’t think Argentina would get it this year) and get a major league trophy for a club like Arsenal (Maradona got a Serie A trophy with Napoli)

    2. tony says:

      Argentina can be out from 1st round they r that bad. none of their players got straight legs except messi! so poor as a team.
      Germany should win again.these team is probably the best team to enter in world cup,better than brazil 2002.they have everything u want to see in a team

  2. Nikhilesh says:

    Messi played well only in group stages, in the semi final and final he went missing, esp in the SF where he didn’t even enter the box

    1. gotanidea says:

      He is usually the bullying target of his opponent’s defenders and those defenders will not play fairly during semifinals and finals in major competitions, e.g. Ramos in Champions League final

      But I agree that he has to prove himself with Argentina, if he is really a great player

      1. Nikhilesh says:

        Look at other legends and messi, he scored no goals when he was at his peak in 2010 and also his form declined in the latter stages of 2014 WC this is why there is criticism against him

        1. bran911 says:

          Don’t you think his peak was when he scored 92 goals in one single year? Why did you peak a goalless season to say he was at his peak? How do you spot a peak season? Based on what?

          1. Rudy Garcia fan says:

            Nikhilesh is clueless.

            As an elderly football fan, I can tell you that Maradona’s 3rd best season was miles worse than Messi’s 3 best season, Maradona’s 5th best season even worse compared to Messi’s 5th best etc etc.
            You can compare both at their peak, but their whole careers?????????

            Messi is the greatest of all time, and only a youngster who hasn’t even watched 30 of Maradona’s games can claim they compare…

            Cassilas won 2 euros and 1 wc, but any expert on Laliga will tell you he was never as good as Oblak has been these past few seasons… or even Ter stegen.

  3. Drew says:

    Absolutely ridiculous these Argentinian fans are! What if Messi was from Saudi Arabia and played for Barca and had all the accolades he has now? If they didn’t win the world cup then he wouldn’t be a great?

    1. kev says:

      Just remember the prediction by the mystic pig with 100% record.It has predicted numerous thing like Trump’s victory and Brexit.
      It predicted Argentina,Nigeria,Belgium and Uruguay to get to the semi finals of the World Cup.

      1. Sammykit says:

        Nigeria??? LOL… I see us leaving the world cup as early as group stage. Our best player is IWOBI ffs. But it’s always good to have hope. Huh?

        1. kev says:

          On paper it looks unrealistic but remember the pig has predicted many things that also looked unrealistic.It has a 100% record as I said.It chose these countries for a reason.Just remember the teams.

      2. Robin Vanpayslip says:

        No team with Iwobi gets anywhere neater semis in an international tournament.

        1. kev says:

          Let’s see if what the mystic pig predicts is wrong.
          Him choosing these countries must surely mean something.

          1. Robin Vanpayslip says:

            It means he’s had enough of life and wants to be on someone’s plate as a fry up

          2. Highbury44 says:


      3. gotanidea says:

        I think England would be one of the semifinalists

        1. kev says:

          I don’t think England would get far.Their team is not good enough and they hardly ever have luck on their side.Different World Cup same England.

    2. Nikhilesh says:

      Look at other legends and messi, he scored no goals when he was at his peak in 2010 and also his form declined in the latter stages of 2014 WC this is why there is criticism against him

  4. kev says:

    I saw some here saying Soyuncu is not done.
    I stress and continue to stress that Soyuncu is 100% a done deal.He has already rejected several clubs and chosen us over over including a last minute attempt by Bayern Munchen to hijack.Ypu’re not seeing it in the media because the player is not at World Cup so no need for rush.Unless we perform a U turn on a player who has already chosen us he will be an Arsenal player 100%.

    Leo’s medical has been scheduled early next week and David Ospina’s move to Fenebarche is 100% a done deal.He will join after World Cup.

    1. Nikhilesh says:

      Are we signing gotze, i’m reading it everywhere

      1. kev says:

        I expected us to get linked with another CM and also expect us to get linked with another CB in the future apart from Soyuncu which is already a done deal.
        On Gotze,I think we have a slight interest but him coming depends on if we have actually sorted out the other positions we are looking to strengthen.Expect lots and lots of twists and turns after the World Cup.

        1. Ozziegunner says:

          Liverpool are also interested in Goetze.

    2. kev says:

      I’m not here to play or to impress.As far as I’m concerned Sokratis,Soyuncu,Torreira and Leno are all done deals 100%.
      You can also expect more signings.We are not done just yet.Do not be shocked to hear us in for another CM and even CB.As for the attacker it’s obvious we are looking at a winger.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Hey man, you said Torreira’s deal would be announced officially today

        Why haven’t we heard anything from Would they want to wait until the World Cup is finished

        1. kev says:

          I said the signing will take place yesterday and I expected them to make the fans know officially in a way.However,as you know things do change especially when it comes to announcement and stuff.
          I’m still expecting them to announce the transfer surely this week if not then 100% after the World Cup.

      2. Arsene Wenger. says:

        I read somewhere that Soyuncu will decide his future after Idd celebration.I don’t know if it’s genuine

    3. Joshua Bryant says:

      Kev, how can we do a U-Turn if the deal is done? Unless the deal isnt done in which case you shouldnt say it is. Its ok to say everything has been agreed and he should sign but you shouldnt say its done when its not signed yet. I would have thought you would have learned this by now.

      1. kev says:

        A deal must be done before a player can sign.
        Some people use “done deal” to signify when a player signs.For e.g “DONE DEAL ARSENAL SIGN ALEXIS SANCHEZ”.There are different instances where you can use “done deal”.Also if a player should sign it means the deal is a done deal.
        Me saying a U turn because minds can change and that’s why teams can even pull out when a player fails a medical.Before the player should even get to the medical stage it means the deal is done.Remember Wenger said when we were going to sign Ozil the PSG president called him to ask if the deal was done and he said yes and told him not to touch the deal which means even a done deal can be touched.Lots of things change.

        1. Arsene Wenger. says:

          What’s the difference between”A deal in place and a Done deal”?

    4. Ozziegunner says:

      Supposedly Soyuncu, as a Muslim, is waiting until the end of Ramadan for the finalization and announcement.

  5. ClassyGunner says:

    Messi is a great player. One of the best ever. But, he can’t walk into any team and instantly make it a favorite in any competition that team may be in. That only one person could do and that is Maradona. Enough said.

  6. Declan says:

    To be compared with Maradona, Messi needs to score with his hand?

  7. Alldwayfromafika says:

    Only to the Argentine fans since they have blessed with two magnificent Messi still needs to win something for his country..but to the rest of the world we know better

    1. bran911 says:

      True dat

  8. Baron Ramsey says:

    Like Torreira, Messi is too short so I think he’ll struggle everywhere

    1. Mobella says:

      That is the most ridiculous comments in relation to this article. Besides Messi doesn’t need to play in other league or for small clubs to be acknowledged as the best player in the world. Why do people think any clubs would want to lose a player like Messi. A good player, not world class, can only change club when the play for small club, shit club,a big club in crisis or moving to a bigger club from a big clubs .eg Suares and courtinho Liverpool to Barca, Bale spus to real, Sanchez, Van Perse, Fabrigas arsenal to manu and Barca , or Ronaldo manu to Real. To conclude no club is rich to buy an enigmatic players like Messi from when when they are in prime and no serious club will sell such player until they are in decline. Xavi, Iniesta, Raul, Pirlo, Totti, Del peiro, Scholes, Giggs etc comes to mind.

    2. Maks says:

      Stupid comment.

  9. Stantheman says:

    What has this got to do with arsenal??? If you want to be a journalist, go write for the sun

    1. stubill says:

      Just don’t read it if it upsets you so much.

  10. PIRES says:

    The last time i cheked Messi isn’t an Arsenal player.As Jon fox said, we can write articles about the history of the club ,the academy…. anyway Eidmoubarak to everyone.

    1. stubill says:

      Why are you giving muslim blessings on an Arsenal site?

      1. pires says:

        So what?!
        The official Twitter account of the club gave blessing to muslims who supports the club.But speaking about Messi is off topic on here

        1. stubill says:

          You’re the one moaning about subjects other than Arsenal being on here, and then you come out with that crap, in the same post as well.
          Typical hypocrite.

      2. bran911 says:

        Then don’t wanna see Christmas wishes here come December..

        1. stubill says:

          You won’t see any from me, I don’t believe in sky fairies, made up by people to control the weak and feeble minded.

  11. Sean says:

    Messi is the greatest gifted player of all time. He compares with Maradonna in an instance, he carried Barcelona to where they are a lot of the time, Pep Guardiola made them special & brought the best out of players but Messi has always been the cherry on top. Barcelona havnt always been great to be fair, Ronaldinho days he carried them a lot too as Maradonna did for a great Napoli side at the time.

    Of past Generation it’s Pele & Maradonna,our Generation is Ronaldo & Messi. Just before that was Ronaldinho, Zidane & Brazilian Ronaldo. You have to enjoy these guys while they are here. All special & il put a certain Thierry Henry in that bracket with Zidane etc…

    Greatest of all time is hard to argue but stats & trophies don’t lie especially now there is more competitions, league games & European games where as years ago it wasn’t as difficult as it is now comparing with how many games to play to get to the European Final. Different generations, different times & all changes as years go on.

    If you go with stats then Cristiano Ronaldo is the GOAT. And,he did it all with hard work which speaks volumes of the man’s character & determination when you have a naturally WC gifted footballer in Leo Messi to compete with.

    1. Sean says:

      Ronaldo is the complete footballer for many fans. The man can do it all & all through hard work.

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