MICHEL PLATINI has told Lionel Messi he must win the World Cup before he can be considered a true great.

Barcelona star Messi won his third consecutive Ballon d’Or last night after steering the Spaniards to FIVE trophies in 2011, including the Spanish title and Champions League.

The 24-year-old has scored over 200 goals and won 18 trophies with the Catalans since making his debut eight years ago.

But UEFA president Platini insists he must win football’s ultimate prize in order to rival Pele and Maradona as the best player of all time.

France legend Platini said: “Messi will always be great with or without a World Cup — but the World Cup is something special.

“The World Cup will stay in the mind of the people.”

Messi has appeared in two World Cups with Argentina — reaching the quarter-final stage on both occasions.

But he has yet to produce the sensational form that has seen him named the world’s best player for the last three years.

In comparison, Messi’s compatriot Maradona almost singlehandedly carried the Argentines to glory in the 1986 World Cup.

Platini added: “When you see Maradona, you see what he has done in ’86.

“At the World Cup he was very strong. To score in a World Cup is an important matter.

“Messi is a pearl. He’s a scorer, first of all. He looks very quiet but he is a killer.

“He is the best player but he needs to have the best team. At Barcelona, he has the best team. I hope he has the best team with Argentina.

“I know he wants to win the World Cup.”

Messi himself concedes he still has a lot to prove on the international stage.

He said: “I’d love to win a title with the national team and I hope that’ll happen one day.

“I want to achieve things with my national team and keep playing the way I am.

“Like I said I just want to keep on performing. This is the fifth time I’ve had the good fortune to be at the gala and I hope to come back many more times.”

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