Former England international Stuart Pearce believes that Lionel Messi cannot be compared to Diego Maradona unless he lifts the World Cup.

The 27-year-old Argentine will get his best chance to date tonight as his nation take on Germany in the final.

Messi has been the star of his country’s campaign in Brazil, captaining them through their group and knockout games to the showpiece clash at the Maracana, netting four goals along the way.

The Barcelona man – who has won just about every prize in club football – is widely considered to be the best player of the current generation and is has been compared to Maradona on numerous occasions.

The striker responsible for the ‘Hand of God’ incident has long been talked about a one of the best to have ever played the game, and Pearce believes that Messi can only be mentioned alongside him if he secures his country the World Cup:

“Messi has to play with pressure every week because of who he is and who he plays for,” he told talkSPORT.

“He handles it comfortably though.

“He delivers 50-60 goals a season and that is incredible in the modern game.

“For him to be compared in the same bracket to Maradona though, he has to get his hands on a World Cup trophy.”

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