'Messi needs WC win to join greats'

Ossie Ardiles said that while Messi might be the best player, a World Cup win is vital for his legacy.

FILE:Ossie Ardiles said that while Messi might be the best player, a World Cup win is vital for his legacy. Picture: AFP.

REUTERS - Lionel Messi would trade all his Barcelona success for a World Cup winners' medal with Argentina to sit alongside the game's greats, according to compatriot Ossie Ardiles.

"That is how important the World Cup is for him," said Ardiles, who was in the Argentina team that won the 1978 World Cup at home in Buenos Aires.

Speaking to delegates at the Soccerex Asian Forum, Ardiles said that while Messi might be regarded by some as the best player the world has seen, a World Cup win is vital for his legacy.

Messi, 26, has claimed 21 club prizes with Barca and has also won the World Youth Cup in 2005 and 2008 Olympics with Argentina. Next month's World Cup will be his third after being used sparingly as a substitute in 2006 and playing in 2010.

"Right now Messi might be regarded as the greatest player in the whole history of the game but he would give all the medals he has won with Barcelona just to win one World Cup, that is how important it is for him," said former midfielder Ardiles.

"To be considered alongside the top, top guys like Pele and Diego Maradona and so on, he not only needs to be in the World Cup but to win it."