They’ll all scream about how Messi is only 22.. ”imagine how good he’ll be in a few years!” .. they’ll tell you that there will be other chances for Rooney and Ronaldo.. ”they have years left at the top” .. and, of course, in some ways they’ll be right. Do not kid yourself though – the opportunity for greatness is theirs, here and now, in South Africa this Summer.
Pele won his 1st World Cup at 17 years old in Sweden in 1958. Maradona was 25 years of age when he mesmerised the world in 1986. Likewise Ronaldo in 2002. Zidane turned 26 on the eve of France ’98.
Come Brazil 2014, Messi will be 27, Rooney 28 & Ronaldo 29.. Ancient? Of course not.. but history suggests that if they want to dine at the top table with the greats then now is as good a time as any.
As Lionel Messi himself told El Mundo this week: ”To be a legend, to be great, you have to win a World Cup.”
Over to you lads.