Lionel Messi had already reached the level of Diego Maradona, according to legendary Italian coach Fabio Capello, before leading Argentina to the title at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
After Messi led Argentina to their third World Cup victory, he finally won football’s most coveted trophy.
The final between Argentina and France ended 3-3, and the game went to penalties. The former Barcelona player scored twice, helping Argentina win 4-2 and claim the country’s first world title since 1986.
Whether Messi has reached the level of the late Argentine great has always been hotly debated.
Capello thinks Messi was already at the level of the winning captain from the 1986 World Cup long before the tournament in Qatar.
According to Capello, “To me, he was on the same level even before the World Cup. Pelé, Messi, and Maradona did things that others couldn’t even imagine,” as cited by Football Italia.
Despite indications that Karim Benzema had recovered from injury, Capello said he would not be starting him in the final against Argentina.
Asked if Didier Deschamps was wrong not to include Karim Benzema in the team for the final: “No, I did the same with Savicevic before the Intercontinental Cup Final in 1993,” replied Fabio Capello.
“On the morning of the game, he told me that he was ready to play after I had prepared everything with Raducioiu. Out of respect, I didn’t let him play. I thought it was a fair decision for the team. Now, the question remains: would Milan and France have won one more trophy with Savicevic and Benzema? Perhaps, yes.”