Can Messi be labelled a true 'great' despite international shortcomings?

06 July 2015 09:27

A record four Ballon d'Or awards, seven La Liga Titles, four Champions League trophies. The list goes on!

Messi has established himself as of the all-time greats in football, and many hold the belief that he is the greatest of all time, but does he really deserve that label?

He possesses jaw-dropping ability that renders the opposition obsolete and leaves spectators speechless. His achievements are ever growing and his price tag is almost unimaginable. He is adored by his global fan base and none more so than the Camp Nou faithful.

However, the situation is far different at international level.

Messi has and continues to achieve everything there is to achieve with Barcelona, but has yet to obtain any major silverware with Argentina. Being made captain of his homeland in 2010 by then manager (and predecessor) Diego Maradona is perhaps his greatest individual achievement internationally.

So why can't he create his club success with his national side? He is regularly compared to the aforementioned Maradona due to striking similarities in stature and style of play (they both have also scored goals using their hand, aka, the "hand of god"). But as long as Messi remains without a World Cup victory, Maradona will always sit firmly on the Argentine throne.

Argentina's recent loss at the Copa América to hosts Chile in the final is just the latest disappointment for the national side. It follows a loss to Germany at the same stage at last years World Cup in Brazil.

Is it the management? His team mates? The enormous pressure he is under? Could it just possibly come down to continuous bad luck? It seems unfathomable that a player of Messi's standard cannot achieve greatness on the international stage when players of lesser ability have done exactly that.

His career rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, is rather ironically enduring the same pain. He more or less mirrors Messi's achievements at club level but falls just short of his counterpart in individual awards. He is captain of Portugal, adored by his global fan base and has been the leading light for his country over the past decade, yet he is also experiencing heartache at international level and quite possibly on a more frustrating scale.

The backup argument that Ronaldo has is that his Portugal side is not filled to the brim with world-class players like Argentina. Given, not every position has the same calibre of player for the Argies, but it is far greater than that of the Portuguese side, which you could more or less count the household names on one hand!

The general consensus is that Ronaldo carries his country to and through tournaments like the workhorse he is, whereas as Messi is seen as more of a leader of Argentina, with his well-equipped, experienced troops ready and willing to go into battle with him.

So for all the great things "little Leo" has turned to gold, he is yet to grasp the already gold Jules Rimet trophy. Until he does this, there will always be a question mark lingering over him as to whether or not he is truly the greatest ever.

Source: DSG