Pep Guardiola managed Lionel Messi during his time in charge of Barcelona and remains a keen admirer of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Messi took a major step to securing his legacy as the greatest player in the history of football by finally lifting the biggest trophy of them all – the World Cup.
Guardiola was quick to congratulate Messi on winning the World Cup when quizzed on the 35-year-old’s crowning achievement for Argentina in Wednesday’s press conference.
“We are incredibly happy for him [Alvarez], congratulations to him and Nicolas Otamendi, and personally to Lionel Messi,” said Guardiola.
“For Argentina as a country, they are a well-deserved champion. For Julian, he is with us and we are delighted because he played a lot. His contribution was amazing for the team and the way they played. We have a world champion in our team.”
Pep Guardiola went on to declare Messi as the GOAT – above Diego Maradona, Pele, and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Everyone has an opinion but nobody can doubt that he is there, with the greatest of all time,” added the City boss. “For me I said many times, he is the best, but it will be difficult to understand.
“A player can appear and compete with what he has done in the last 50 years to 70 years, but the people who saw Pele or [Alfredo] Di Stefano or Maradona, they can say their favourite.
“In their opinions they are sentimental, you know? But on the other side, if he [Messi] had not won the World Cup, my opinion about what he has done for world football, it wouldn’t have changed absolutely anything. Of course, for him it’s the final achievement of an incredible career.”
Having already won seven Ballon d’Or, four Champions Leagues, 11 league titles and countless more trophies, there can be no argument that the Argentinian icon has secured his place in the annals of history.
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