France defender Marcel Desailly, a FIFA World Cup winner, believes Lionel Messi’s Argentina may not have what it takes to win the 2022 edition of the showpiece event.
The Albiceleste are the defending Copa America champions and head to the World Cup in Qatar after a 33-game unbeaten streak. Many consider Lionel Scaloni’s side to be among the favorites for the title alongside Brazil and France.
Some also believe that this year’s tournament represents Lionel Messi’s last chance to lift the famous trophy. The Argentina captain is already 35 and there are question marks over his participation in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
While Messi’s recent form suggests he could take The Albiceleste all along, Desailly didn’t seem entirely convinced of the same. The 1998 World Cup winner said in an interview with The Team (as quoted by PSGTalk):
“Messi remains an exceptional player, but he never made a World Cup like Maradona in 1986. He is able to defy the elements if the opponent gives him space because he is a ‘killer’.”
“But in a World Cup there are no coincidences. You need continuity in performance and I don’t believe that one individual can still hold a team together and make a difference in a whole tournament.
He went on to say that Lionel Messi’s supporting cast might not be up to the occasion in Qatar:
“It was already complicated, but for my generation, it was no longer possible. And I don’t think the players around Messi can raise their level. In such a context, there is a decompression. When you have players who are not high level, they lose their abilities over the matches.
The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker notably came close to winning the FIFA World Cup in 2014. However, Argentina lost to Germany in extra time after a fairy tale run to the final .
Lionel Messi and Argentina will play their last two matches before the FIFA World Cup this month
After an exciting start to the 2022-23 season, several players have joined their national team camps for their final matches ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
Lionel Messi and Argentina will face off in two friendlies during the ongoing international break. They will face Honduras in Florida on September 23 before taking on Jamaica in New Jersey on September 27.
Messi will come into these two matches having scored five times and assisted twice in his last two appearances for the national team. The Argentine has also recorded six goals and eight assists in 11 appearances in all competitions for PSG this season.
Argentina will be keen to extend their current unbeaten streak and build momentum ahead of the World Cup. The Albiceleste were drawn in Group C alongside Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.