Lionel Messi wants to win the World Cup with Argentina more than any player on the planet, according to team-mate Nicolas Otamendi, who believes the Barcelona star is the best in the world regardless.
Messi is still waiting on his first senior international honour, despite claiming five Ballons d’Or and four Champions Leagues in an astounding career.
The 30-year-old’s failure to win a World Cup has so far counted against him in debates ranking the greatest players of all time, but Otamendi says Argentina’s 25-year trophy drought – which stretches back to the 1993 Copa America – is not for a want of trying from their talisman, a four-time loser in international finals.
“For Leo, [the World Cup] is obviously what’s missing, but it doesn’t stop him being the best in the world,” Otamendi told Marca.
“In Argentina, we are very demanding, but we are lucky to have Leo – he helps a lot. He is always calm, he tries to deliver for the team. He’s a competitor, a winner, in games and in training.
“Given the players that Argentina have, [winning the World Cup] is a demand that we all want, but we won’t win it in the first game. We will play each game like a final and destiny will tell us where we will end up.
“In Brazil, we got to the final and we almost won it, but it wasn’t to be. We’ve had three finals where we couldn’t do it, but if we get into that position again it’s because the team deserves it.