England manager Roy Hodgson believes that Liverpool talisman Luis Suarez has a lot to prove to be considered as one of the best players in the world.
England will face Uruguay in the Group D next match on Thursday, where Suarez is expected to return from his knee injury.
Suarez, who scored 31 goals for Liverpool in the league this season and won the PFA player of the year award, was on bench for Uruguay against Costa Rica in their opening match.
“I think he will only be at that stellar level when he shows it on this particular stage,” Hodgson said as quoted in The Telegraph.
“If you are saying do I think he has got the potential, is he a wonderful footballer, yes he sure is.
“But if you are really going to put him up there with Maradona, Pele, Beckenbauer and Cruyff he has to shine in a World Cup.
“You might even argue [Lionel] Messi needs to have that sort of tournament to get up there with the legends of football.
“Pirlo was challenging that category. He has done it time and time again, shown what a wonderful footballer he is, because this is the stage you have got to do it on really.
“Being a great player in your league will get you lots of plaudits but for the world to recognise you are one of the all-time greats you have got to do it as the World Cup.”
Probably, Hodgson is right in his assessment here. Suarez is an undoubtedly a wonderful and gifted footballer, but in order to etch his name among the pantheons of great, he needs to shine at football’s greatest platform.
But, then again, does performing at the World Cup is the only parameter to be considered as world class? There are so many great players (George Best for example) in the world, who have never played in the World Cup and yet are considered as legends of the game.
Will Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo be not be considered one of the great players of all time should they fail to shine at the World Cup? Share your views below…