Zurich: Lionel Messi still needs to produce his best at the World Cup to be remembered as one of the truly great players, former France captain Michel Platini said on Monday.
Messi won the World Player of the Year award for the third time in a row on Monday, based on his exploits last year with Barcelona, but Platini said the Argentine still needed to perform at the highest level for his country.
"Look at Diego Maradona, everyone remembers what he did in 1986, nobody remembers so much what he did with Napoli, with Barcelona," Platini, president of UEFA, told reporters after the ceremony.
"It`s still the World Cup which sticks in people`s minds.”
"Messi will always be great with or without the World Cup, Johan Cruyff will always be great with or without the World Cup, but the World Cup does something special," he added.
The only criticism levelled against Messi is that he has yet to produce his best playing for his country, who were knocked out of the Copa America in the quarter-finals last year when they hosted the tournament.
Messi, who has played in two World Cups only for Argentina to lose in the quarter-finals to Germany on both occasions, admitted the national team were not at their best
"The reality is that we are very far from being the best national team in the world," he said in a news conference before the ceremony.
"There are many in front of us but we have the ambition and the desire. There is still a lot of time to go before 2014 and we have to improve a lot but we will get there."