Graeme Souness says can single-handedly carry Argentina to glory at the World Cup.
The World Cup is the only trophy missing from Messi’s incredible career, with Qatar expected to be his final chance to win football’s grandest prize.
Souness ahead of Argentina’s opener against Saudi Arabia, described the South American nation as one of the two tournament favourites – alongside Brazil – and that England are ‘not far behind’ after their impressive 6-2 win over Iran on Monday.
Graeme Souness claims Lionel Messi could carry Argentina to glory at the World Cup
He told ITV Sport that no one has gotten him off his feet more than Messi during his career
Souness told ITV Sport: ‘Argentina are favourites for me along with Brazil.
‘They have to come into the argument but England aren’t far behind them.
‘I think if we see a version of Messi from seven or eight years ago he could single-handedly carry them to the tournament.
‘Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, maybe the best player I’ve ever seen kick a ball.I think we should treasure these moments. So they are definitely in the argument.’
Souness continued his praise for the Paris Saint-Germain star by claiming that no one has gotten him off his seat more in his lifetime.
Souness says England are not far behind Brazil and Argentina as favourites for the World Cup
He also said that at his fifth World Cup, this is the strongest Argentina team Messi has played in.
‘I think this is his strongest team he’s played with in the World Cup,’ Souness said.
‘It’s such a special event the World Cup you have to expect he’ll turn up.He’s not had a great couple of seasons of late. He’s arguably the greatest player ever – I think Ronaldo is a little bit behind Messi.
‘It’s because of the longevity – he’s done it for such a long time at the very very top.
Messi took just ten minutes to get his World Cup account off the mark with a penalty
‘I personally could talk about Messi all day long – he’s such a unique talent.There’s nothing about him to dislike. He works his socks off, he can create, score goals – he gets me off my seat like no other player in my lifetime watching football.’
It took Messi just ten minutes to get on the score-sheet after he calmly slotted a penalty into the back of the net to open the scoring against Saudi Arabia.
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Joe Cole joined in on the praise for Messi and also highlighted how Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez is a good fit alongside Messi.
He said: ‘I absolutely love him.I took my boys to watch him at Wembley (in the Finalissima) and I said “just watch him”.
‘I also think this is the best Argentina team I’ve seen for several years. Lautaro Martinez is so good for Messi – he’s like a prime Suarez who does the work of two men and runs the channels well.’
Souness believes that this is the strongest Argentina World Cup squad involving Messi
England made a statement of their intentions with their comfortable victory on Monday
Souness, a former Liverpool and Scotland player, was impressed by England’s performance on Monday.
Goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish ensured a comfortable 6-2 win in their opener.
Both Cole and Souness though said England had to ‘ere on the side of caution’ after the win.
Cole said: ‘It was Iran so we have to ere on the side of caution. I think Jude Bellingham will be the young star of the torunament.Harry Kane was different class he was disappointed not to get his goal. Some of the goals were fantastic. You want your attackers with a bit of form in the tournament.
‘They will make the difference. I thought CW did well – well within his rights to have a shot but he set jack up and he needed that goal.It’s lovely to see smiles on their faces.
Souness added: ‘England would be a threat at set pieces against Iran. England have bigger tests ahead of them. Iran will not be used to that – that was the perfect game for England yesterday.’
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