Former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has said that for him, Lionel Messi is the best player and would have still been the best even if Argentina had not won the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking ahead of Manchester City’s Carabao Cup round of 16 tie against Liverpool, Guardiola praised Messi for what he has achieved in his career, saying while everyone has their opinion, nobody can overlook Messi when discussing the greatest footballers of all time.
Leo Messi is the best in history and my opinion about it would not have changed even if I hadn’t won the World Cup with Argentina on Sunday,” said the City manager, as quoted by GOAL.
“Everybody has an opinion but nobody can doubt that Messi is there. Messi, I have said it many times, he is the best,” he added.
He explained his theory by saying that it is important to understand how Messi has been so consistent throughout his career. He added for those who saw Pele Alfredo Di Stefano and Maradona in their prime, their opinions are rather sentimental.
It would be difficult to understand that a player can compete with what he has done. With the people who saw Pele or Alfredo Di Stefano or Maradona, well, their opinions are often sentimental.”
Concluding his words on Messi, Guardiola said that winning the World Cup is a fitting end to Messi’s illustrious career.
“If Messi had not won the World Cup, my opinion about what he has done for world football would not have changed anything at all. Of course, for him it is the final achievement of an incredible career,” he said.
Messi, despite being on the wrong side of 30, broke several records during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This includes becoming the only player to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and final in a single edition of the men’s World Cup.
During the competition, he scored seven goals and provided three assists to finish with a goal contribution of a whopping 10 goals. To put things into perspective, Argentina scored 15 goals during the competition in regulation time.