It's safe to say that any football fan with functioning eyes wouldn't struggle to appreciate the utter brilliance of Lionel Messi.
The Argentinean superstar is destined to be remembered as one of the finest footballers of all-time - with the collective thinking being that he will not only be remembered as the greatest of his generation, but as the greatest of all-time.
Messi has continued to show his brilliance on the biggest stage at this year's World Cup, contributing goals from the spot against Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands, and wonderful virtuosic goals against Mexico and Australia, as Argentina have clambered their way to the semi-finals despite a ropy start to the tournament.
In truth, just as was the case in 2014 and 2018, Argentina's success at this tournament has been predominantly down to the twinkle-toed maestro running the show. There is an air of the 1986 Argentina side, which was lifted to brilliance by the presence of Diego Maradona pulling the strings.
Unlike Maradona, however, Messi does not yet have football's biggest prize to his name. The closest he has come was defeat to Germany in the final in 2014 and, at the age of 35, this will almost certainly be Messi's last chance to win the World Cup. For many, the "GOAT" adding the final missing piece from his glittering career would be the perfect ending to this tournament.
Lionel Messi 'needs World Cup' - Danny Mills
For ex-England man Danny Mills, however, it is not a case of merely wanting Lionel Messi to take the crown - he believes that the PSG star needs to win the World Cup to be remembered as the greatest of all time.
Mills, who was a regular for England during their run to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, spoke on Sky Sports News ahead of Argentina's semi-final clash with Croatia on Tuesday night, and said that he would struggle to see Messi alongside the likes of Maradona and Pele unless he is victorious in Qatar.
"He needs it to put him up there as possibly the greatest of all time"
Danny Mills believes Lionel Messi needs to win this World Cup to be compared to Maradona and Pele 🌎🏆 pic.twitter.com/TH6DuJXJrD
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 13, 2022
Mills compared Messi with the two greatest players from the 20th century history of the World Cup, and suggested that the World Cup titles won by Pele and Maradona would be held against Messi if he cannot finish the job this year.
Modric has come very, very close and won the Champions League very many times. Messi is very similar.
For Messi, he needs it [the World Cup] to put him up there as possibly the greatest of all time and compare himself to the likes of Maradona and Pele and people like that.
It's a bold take, and disregards the brilliance shown by Messi in winning so many accolades at both club and international level throughout his career.
Tuesday's semi-final will see Messi come together with another great of his generation, Croatian midfielder Luka Modric. Modric was the driving force behind the Croatian side that lost the 2018 final and, with the World Cup semi-finals looking more evenly-matched and open than in recent memory, Mills thinks that this year's tournament marks a huge chance for both Messi and Modric:
He's a genius. Modric is equally as good in different ways, in the way he goes about his business. It's a little bit quieter, there's not quite as much pazzazz around what he does. Sometimes you have to be at the game to watch Modric and really see how good he is off the ball, or with the pass before the pass. It's those little things.
Messi is further up the pitch with the assist or the goal. For both of them, what a great opportunity. Personally, I would like Messi - now that England are out - to go on and win it.
Lionel Messi v Luka Modric in a World Cup semi-final, both vying for football's most coveted crown, on their final outing on the biggest stage. It's set up to be an enthralling evening in Doha.