Manchester City manager and former Lionel Messi manager Pep Guardiola has reiterated his belief that the Argentina captain is the greatest player of all time.
Messi led Argentina to a first World Cup triumph since 1986 at Qatar 2022, producing plenty of standout performances and flashy moments to emulate his hero and compatriot Diego Maradona.
It was the only trophy that had eluded Messi throughout his illustrious career and it was won in the most nervous fashion imaginable, as Argentina beat France on penalties after a chaotic 3- 3 after extra time.
Messi scored twice and also took Argentina’s first penalty in the shootout in Sunday’s final.
Guardiola coached Messi at Barcelona from 2008 to 2012 – a team widely regarded as the greatest of all time – winning three remarkable La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues during that four-year span.
“Everybody has [an] opinion, but no one can doubt that he is there with the greatest of all time,” Guardiola told reporters ahead of Thursday’s Carabao Cup game between City and Liverpool.
“For me, I’ve said it many times, he’s the best. It’s hard to understand that a player can appear and compete with what he’s done in the last 50 or 70 years.
“People who have seen Pelé, for example, or [Alfredo] Di Stefano or [Diego] Maradona… they can say they are my favorite because often these opinions are sentimental.
“But, on the other hand, if he [Messi] would not have won the World Cup, the opinion of what he has done for the world of football, in my opinion, of who he is as a player would have changed absolutely nothing, ”added Guardiola.
“For him, it’s the icing on the cake of an incredible career.”