Lionel Messi can write his own Michael Jordan-inspired script by making the 2022 World Cup his ‘Last Dance’, says former Argentina international Lucas Biglia.
While piecing together an enviable collection of medals at Barcelona, to go with his six Ballons d’Or, an all-time great is still waiting on a first senior honour with his country.
Final heartache has been suffered on World Cup and Copa America stages, with even one of the very best in the business proving incapable of dragging Argentina over the finishing line.
There may not be many more opportunities for Messi to right those wrongs, as he approaches his 33rd birthday, but hope continues to spring eternal.
Biglia believes a remarkable trophy haul can be completed at Qatar 2022, with there every reason to believe that Messi can emulate Chicago Bulls legend Jordan by delivering on huge expectation and bowing out in style.
Current AC Milan star Biglia told FM 94.7 after being inspired by an NBA-themed documentary on Netflix: "I finished The Last Dance the other day, it was excellent.
"It got me thinking that in a few years, hopefully we will be able to watch something similar with our own phenomenon [Messi].
"[We could] learn a mountain of things about his day-to-day. Because you see him train, you see him play but so many things happen on a day-to-day basis that you don't know about, as we see [with Jordan] in the series.
"The scene that I would like to see in the future is the one when Jordan is hugging the [NBA] trophy and crying. I would like to see that with Messi and the World Cup. That I would like to see. I know what it would mean for him and for the Argentine people."
While looking for comparisons between the respective careers of Messi and Jordan, and what they have both achieved at the very highest level of sport, Biglia insists the temperament of his fellow countryman is markedly different to that of one of basketball’s greatest and most demanding players.
He said: "He [Messi] always puts himself at your level.
"Not just because of his humility, but to make you feel comfortable. He looks to build a relationship with his teammates by relating to them. That's what makes him great. There are no words to describe him as a player. As a person, he is 10, 100 times better."
Messi has not always received the same level of praise in his homeland, on the back of his exploits for the Albiceleste, as he does at Barcelona.
Biglia, though, says there should be no doubting the fact that a Rosario native is as loved in Argentina as he is in Catalunya and that everybody will be pulling in the same direction once the next opportunity to chase down global glory presents itself.
He added: "The good memories are saved, of course, but the bad ones will always remain, too.
"Why does a person have to suffer so much? In the last World Cup, to see how the elimination hit him, that's when you ask yourself why? That stayed with me. Not just on the pitch, but off it.
"It hurts me to see him suffer so much and makes me ask myself why he has to suffer in that way. I pray to God that we can see him at the next World Cup in two years' time."
By Chris Burton
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