Messi Carries the Badge of Honour Burden

Lionel Messi must prove he is on the same level as previous South American number 10s: Pele and Maradona.

imagesThat’s the reality of being a gifted number 10 from South America. You are given the number 10 shirt, known notoriously as the ‘Badge of Honour’, and then you have to earn it – mostly by winning a World Cup.

This coming Sunday Lionel Messi will carry the weight of expectation and a population of 41.5 million Argentines on his small shoulders.

There is no doubt Lionel Messi is the most gifted player of his generation but many say he will never be truly considered a great until he lifts the golden lady by wearing the number 10 shirt of a South American national team.

Mario Kempes did it in 1978 by being the most gifted and magnificent player in the tournament, held in Argentina, and he was also the tournament’s top scorer. Now that is a South American number 10 great.

Diego Armando Maradona stamped his greatness on the world’s biggest stage in Mexico 1986 but Messi’s moment looks more like a 50-50 chance rate.

Let’s be honest, he has produced decent moments in Brazil this year but he has been posted missing on a number of occasions. That is not the mark of greatness. Unless a magnificent performance on Sunday in the Maracana can prove otherwise.

Alan Hansen writes in the Telegraph:

Lionel Messi has arguably his final chance to make history in Sunday’s World Cup Final and elevate himself up to the top tier alongside Pele and Diego Maradona Read more …


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