Jose Mourinho has come to the defence of Lionel Messi, insisting you don’t have to win the World Cup to be a great.
The Argentine talisman ended the tournament with a runner-up medal and the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player in the competition, for his efforts in Brazil.
However, this has not prevented criticism of the 27-year-old, who showed flashes of brilliance during Argentina’s campaign but struggled to exert his influence on proceedings last night.
“I haven’t appreciated the ferocious criticism of Messi,” former Inter boss Mourinho said to Yahoo. “It’s easy to praise him when he wins but more difficult when he loses.
“You don’t need to be a world champion to be a great, especially with what he has done in the last 10 years.”
The Chelsea manager was then asked to compare Messi to Diego Maradona.
“I don’t like comparisons between players from different eras, even though for me Maradona is unique.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!