Andres Iniesta insists Lionel Messi "doesn't need to win the World Cup" to be regarded as the best player of all time.
Barcelona star Messi took the plaudits once again on Saturday, as his two goals in a 6-0 demolition of Rayo Vallecano took him to 337 strikes for the Catalan giants - the highest number scored by any player for a single Spanish club - at the age of just 26.
But Barca team-mate Iniesta, who scored Spain's winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final, does not believe Messi requires success on the international stage with Argentina to justify his tag as one of football's greats.
"Leo doesn't need to win the World Cup to be considered the best player ever," he is quoted as saying by the Sun on Sunday.
"I say that for those who demand he wins the World Cup to be considered the greatest ever in history.
"He's decisive in every game he's played in for six or seven years."
Messi, who captains Argentina, has made 83 appearances for his country, scoring 37 goals.