World Cup 2014 final - Germany vs Argentina: Lionel Messi will decide final, says David Beckham
The Argentina No 10 has a chance to take his place alongside Diego Maradona on Sunday
Saturday 12 July 2014
David Beckham is thrilled to see Lionel Messi feature in the World Cup final and is backing the Argentina star to lead his team to victory.
Messi has often faced criticism that he has not reproduced his Barcelona form on the international stage, but has played a key role as the Albiceleste progressed to Sunday's final against Germany.
"He's amazing," Beckham said in an interview on Adidas football's YouTube channel.
"He gives people so much pleasure with the way he plays and what makes him special is he plays as a team-mate as well, a good team player.
"He's got great individual skill, but winning means everything to him. If other team-mates score goals he's the first one there to celebrate with them and I think that says a lot about him.
"Playing for Argentina, I'm sure there's a certain amount of pressure, but going as far as they've gone is incredible. It means so much to him, his family and everyone else around the world, the fact Messi's going to be playing on this stage."
Read more: Messi with chance to emulate Maradona
Will Germany have an advantage because of extra rest?
How Germany conquered the football world
Having been reluctant to offer a prediction for the final, Beckham - who will be at the game with his children - eventually tipped Argentina to triumph 3-1.
He said: "It's just amazing that these two teams have come together.
"Germany came to the tournament with great experience, people are not too surprised they've got as far as this. There's no particular star, they've just a great group that play well together.
"Argentina have a group of talented players who play with a lot of passion, but Lionel, I'm just excited to see him play."
Reviewing the tournament as a whole, Beckham relished the emergence of new teams and players on the world stage - none more so than Colombia and James Rodriguez.
"It's been a great World Cup. The fact you've seen teams like Costa Rica and Colombia perform the way they have and some great young players coming out of the competition, it's been great to see," he said.
Rodriguez was included among the nominees for FIFA's player of the tournament award after scoring six goals in Colombia's five games, most memorably a superb volley on the turn against Uruguay in the last 16.
Beckham said: "His goal for me was one of the best of the tournament - as a young player, to have that thought, the way he moved into the ball, the way he turned and struck the ball.
"I've heard about him quite a few times and people told me he was a great talent, but to come on to the world stage at his age and play the way he's played, says how talented he is.
"I think he's got a great future. He's such a talented player and he's a good-looking kid as well, he's got the whole package."
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Calum Chambers: Who is Arsenal's £16m right-back target?
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?