Hernan Crespo hopes Lionel Messi ends Argentina World Cup drought

It would be nice to see Messi win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, says the former striker.

Lionel Messi doesn’t yet have a World Cup title with Argentina.   -  AP

Well-known Argentine striker of yesteryear Hernan Crespo hopes current star Lionel Messi ends his country’s World Cup title drought before calling it quits.

Crespo, who is here as the event ambassador of the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, said it would be nice to see the 32-year-old Messi win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “I hope [Messi wins the World Cup]. It will be very hard. I hope he tries again. This is really our dream,” said Crespo during a select media interaction on Friday.

Argentina last won the World Cup in 1986.

“The first one is Copa America. We host it, in Argentina and Colombia (in June-July next year), and we have a good chance to lift the Copa America [title].”

‘Five kings’

Crespo believed Messi’s stature would remain intact even without a World Cup. “[He] doesn’t need [to win a World Cup to be great player]. In the whole history, I think of five kings — Pele, [Alfredo] Di Stefano, [Johan] Cruyff, [Diego] Maradona and Messi.”

Read | Ronaldinho: Messi the best of his time, not all time

The 44-year-old, who never played in Spain, said in today’s football he would like to play alongside Messi for Argentina and Barcelona.

On all-time Argentine forwards, Crespo said, “We have had some great strikers — Mario Kempes, Batistuta. I don’t want to forget Messi, [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Sergio] Aguero. They deserve to be part of greatest of ours strikers. Diego [Maradona] is from another planet.

“I prefer Messi than Batistuta, but Batistuta is the best striker ever in Argentina.”

‘EPL the best’

Crespo, who had an illustrious career in Serie A, rated the English Premier League (EPL) as the best league at present. “In my heart Serie A, but now EPL is the best. When I was in Italy, the name of the Serie A was ‘Seven Sisters’ because all the seven teams had a chance to win. Not any more. It’s the same with EPL now. It’s so competitive.”

Read | Messi 'without a doubt' the best ever, says Bartomeu

Recalling his days in the Serie A and EPL, Crespo said the basic difference between the two leagues was their culture. “It is another rhythm of the game. It’s more intensive in EPL but it’s more tactical and strategic in Serie A. It’s more difficult to score in Italy than anywhere. In Argentina, everybody knows about Messi, Crespo, Maradona, talks about them in terms of attack. In Italy, it is different,” said Crespo, sharing that Italian Franco Baresi was the toughest defender he faced in his career.

About Indian football, Crespo said he was aware of the presence of two leagues, Indian Super League and I-League, and would not mind working in the country in case he got an offer.

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