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Toronto FC
1:30 AM UTC Apr 26, 2018
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Messi not focused on matching greats

Lionel Messi says his motivation to win the World Cup with Argentina does not come from the desire to prove himself an all-time great like Pele or Maradona.

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The Barcelona star has claimed every trophy available with his club and won the Ballon d'Or on four occasions, but he has yet to achieve success on international football's biggest stage, with Argentina failing to get past the quarterfinals in either the 2006 or 2010 tournaments.

Argentina captain Messi has told ESPN he did not feel any personal motivation to emulate past individual greats and was simply seeking to triumph in the sport's most prestigious competition.

"I do not want to be world champion with Argentina so that people can say that I will be a great like Pele or Maradona," Messi said. "I want to do it to achieve this objective with the national team, and to add this title to my list of trophies."

Messi admitted to having regularly asked Barca teammates such as Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta what it had been like to lift the trophy in 2010 with Spain.

"I feel some healthy envy towards my teammates at Barca who have won it," he said. "No matter how much I ask, they cannot explain what it feels like."

Argentina sailed through qualification under coach Alejandro Sabella, who has been confident enough in his current side to decide against recalling Juventus attacker Carlos Tevez to the preliminary 30-man squad for the finals.

"We are coming into the tournament in good form," Messi said. "We have a nice opportunity to do something big. We are relaxed and excited about being able to achieve our objective."


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