It is absolutely an outdated argument when we realize that virtually no one has been absolutely legendary in more than one NT tournament. You’re basically saying “Yeah, he was legendary in WC 2022, but he wasn’t quite legendary before that,” without acknowledging the fact that virtually no one has been absolutely legendary more than once. You’re plainly holding Messi to a standard that other players haven’t met and then using Messi failing to meet that standard as evidence that those other players were better than him. And Messi has been a “match-winner” enough to have won two major NT tournaments and have made the finals of four others—more match winning than virtually any other player has had for their NT. I’d also just reiterate that this idea that you need goals or assists to have been truly great is nonsense and is not even remotely consistent with arguments you’ve elsewhere made. For instance, you insisted that Luka Modric was the world’s best performing player in 2018, but Luka Modric had barely any goals or assists that year. How can someone have been the best performing player in the world without almost any goals or assists, if the expectation of “the game’s best players” is that they directly win matches with goals and/or assists? It makes no sense whatsoever, and this inconsistency lays bare the fact that you apply completely inconsistent standards in order to further your agenda. Messi also outperformed his xG in WC 2022, while Maradona underperformed his xG in WC 1990. What’s your point? Also, as a factual matter, it’s not even generally true that “the best players” are legendary because they outperform xG. That’s actually one of the really interesting lessons of xG analysis. Of course, Messi actually does generally outperform xG (by more than virtually anyone else, but still not by a lot, because no one outperforms by a lot), and, without having xG data for all of his NT tournaments, I think it is very likely true that he hasn’t done so for Argentina at major NT tournaments.* But luckily for Messi, his greatness isn’t even close to just being based on his ability to outperform xG, and he’s been really great for Argentina in other ways, as evidenced by having gotten more player of the tournament awards for Argentina than any player in history has ever gotten for their NT. _______________________________ * Without having thought too much about this, my guess is that Messi not outperforming xG for Argentina is probably mostly a consequence of a different distribution of shots. A much higher percent of his shots for Argentina are from outside the box (largely a consequence of generally playing a deeper role in a team with a lesser talent gap). And, even though he’s certainly quite proficient at outside-the-box shots, I suspect his unique ability to outperform xG is largely based on outperforming xG with in-the-box shots. Indeed, he’s had to take a higher percent of outside-the-box shots at PSG too, and hasn’t outperformed xG there either. Admittedly, though, this theory isn’t quite consistent with him outperforming his xG in his latter years at Barcelona—where he was similarly stuck taking lots of outside the box shots.