Whether a megastar at the
Wait. Are we talking about
Both, actually. James, the two-time
Eager to preserve his legacy as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), Pele in recent remarks has fed the perception that Messi will remain a cut below until his team takes soccer's grandest prize. It's a tall order for anyone, given that the Cup is a quadrennial event, which limits any player to about three tries.
Besides, it's not as if Messi is a stranger to championships. He has accumulated 23, including six in the Spanish professional league and three in the UEFA ChampionsLeague. Maradona's total: seven.
Messi can close this case if his offensively challenged side conquers the emphatic favorite today. Through six games, he has received marginal support, with only four goals by teammates even though he draws multiple defenders. In such scenarios, as James might point out from his sport, somebody should be open enough to score.
Messi's reputation suffers somewhat from the overwrought evangelistic fervor still surrounding his countryman Maradona. The highlight clips confirm how Maradona could make magic. What they don't show is how much he stood around or ran aimlessly. Say this for Messi: He works considerably harder than Maradona ever did.