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Messi: I am not a 'true great' like Maradona
May 14, 2014 11:51 AM EST
Lionel Messi does not believe that he deserves to be compared to Argentina legend Diego Maradona until he has lifted the FIFA World Cup.
The Barcelona talisman goes into the finals in Brazil as Argentina's main attacking threat and wearing the number 10 shirt made famous by Maradona during his 17-year international career.
The former Argentina captain won the World Cup in 1986 when he scored five goals on their way to beating West Germany in the final.
Comparisons have been made between Messi and Maradona and their influence on the national team, but the 26-year-old does not feel that he can claim to be his compatriot's equal just yet.
"The comparison with Maradona is a very nice compliment, but not one that I can accept yet," Messi told Goal. "He did so much for the national team - and I don't think any player can be considered a true great until they have won the World Cup.
"I hope that I can do that and I hope I can do that this summer - but until then I don't talk about me as the best.
"When people say nice things about you and the way you play the game it is always nice to hear - but I have always said when I retire is the time to look back at what I have achieved.
"For now it's about constantly trying to improve and winning things with Barcelona and Argentina."
Messi made his international debut in 2005 and will be playing in his third World Cup in Brazil.