Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are already all-time football greats, despite neither having won a World Cup.
"He [Messi] is great, he is great. I don't think he needs to win with Argentina to be great," Mourinho told Yahoo!. "[Cristiano] Ronaldo is great; I don't think he needs to be world champion with Portugal to be great."
Mourinho went on to say the legacies of both Messi and Ronaldo, who have six Ballon d'Or awards between them, among many other individual and team honors, are unquestionably secure, no matter what the duo does at the World Cup this summer.
And yet Mourinho says he understands why in the eyes of some, Messi and Ronaldo must win a World Cup medal to join the historically elite players.
"There is always a but - Maradona did it, and Zidane did it, and Ronaldo Nazário and Rivaldo did it. Many of the big guys did it, so everybody is waiting for them to do it," Mourinho said.
Messi's Argentina, who are set to face Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria in Brazil, are considered one of the pre-tournament favourites for the World Cup.
On Wednesday, they were held to a 0-0 draw in their friendly meeting with Romania as the South Americans continued their preparations for the World Cup.
Messi made a slow start to the match and appeared to vomit briefly onto the field in the seventh minute, shortly after taking a free kick.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, had a pair of goals to set Portugal's career scoring record in a 5-1 win over Cameroon. He will hope to maneuver Portugal out of a difficult World Cup group featuring Germany, Ghana and the United States.