Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo should not be ranked lower among the all-time greats if they never manage to win a FIFA World Cup.
It is widely believed and stated that to be considered one of the best players in history, or the best, you must have a World Cup winner’s medal in your cabinet; otherwise, it seems to be seen as a failure. But I find that absurd. It is certainly unfair for the two players leading the current generation anyway.
Messi and Ronaldo are in the unfortunate situation of playing for nations that are not the power houses of International football. They are not the favourites, and on paper, both Argentina and Portugal are not on par with Spain or Germany. Therefore, it is very difficult for these two to ever experience World Cup glory. But I very much disagree with the idea that without that glory, they should be deemed as less of a player.
There are so many factors and variables that play into a World Cup too. From the players a country has, to the teams it faces or the fate of a penalty shoot out, there is a lot that determines who becomes World Champion. It is far more than just one great player turning up and putting on a show.
We all know Messi and Ronaldo are some of the finest players this world has ever had grace its grass. We know that because week in, week out (almost without exception) these two perform and score one, if not two or more, goals. They don’t just do this in La Liga, they do this in the Champions League as well, which they have both won. Yes, you should consider the silverware of a player to really see just how great their career was. But I think we should be using more common sense to rank a player in history, rather than whether they won a World Cup.
Are you really going to tell me that Messi won’t go down as one of the greatest players of all time if he never wins a World Cup? He could retire tomorrow and would still have the goal scoring record and performances to warrant that.
It’s not like these two haven’t performed at Intentional level either. Things haven’t hit the incredible standards of their club, football but I don’t think they can be criticized. In this qualifying campaign alone, Messi has scored 10 goals in 14 games for Argentina.
These two are a couple of the best players we will ever see. They will go down in history with Pele, Maradonna and Zidane because they are incredible. A World Cup win will only boost that recognition, but without it, it doesn’t mean they aren’t the best.