Lionel Messi cannot be considered the greatest of all time as an Argentine without a World Cup win to his name, says former Real Madrid and Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho.
To many, the Barcelona talisman is the finest talent to have ever laced up a pair of boots.
It is difficult to argue against that given all that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has achieved over the course of a remarkable career.
Camacho, though, is not having it that Messi can be considered to sit at the very top of football’s honours board.
He is a big fan of the mercurial South American, but feels notable omissions on a glittering CV make it impossible for the 32-year-old to be billed as the best of the best.
Camacho told Spanish publication ABC of Messi: “He’s a very good player, but you can’t be the best in the world, let alone in history, if you are Argentinian and you don’t win a World Cup.
“There are countries with less tradition where not winning the World Cup is less significant, but Argentina is a dominant force.
“No, without a World Cup, Messi can’t be the best.
“A World Cup is the best you can aspire to and Argentinians will always demand it.”
While disputing that Messi is the greatest ever, Camacho concedes that he is probably the pick of the modern era.
“He can decide a game at any time,” added the Real Madrid legend.
“There can be total balance between two teams but he is Lionel Messi and he can break that balance suddenly.
“On top of that, he’d make me look like a good coach.”
For Camacho, regardless of what Messi has achieved to this point, he still sits being an iconic countryman in the global pecking order.
Diego Maradona delivered where Messi has failed, on a World Cup stage, and is considered to have boasted ability that remains unmatched by those who have followed in his footsteps.
“With the talent that he had,” Camacho stated.
“If he had taken his career as seriously as Cristiano [Ronaldo] or Messi, he would still be playing and winning every game.”