PARIS (AFP) After he destroyed Arsenal with a four-goal salvo in the Champions League, the worlds best footballer reverted to type and scurried shyly from the scene to escape the welter of eulogies which rained down in his wake. Lionel Messi had, not for the first time at club level, delivered. If the diminutive genius they call the atomic flea had spiked the Gunners with a full catalogue of mazy runs and dribbles and rapier accuracy, he also knows how to use his head - as Manchester United can testify after the Argentine nodded the clincher in the 2009 Champions League final. Add the fact that this is the irrepressible fulcrum of a Barcelona side which lifted a staggering six trophies last season and the image of the complete footballer comes into sharp focus. He may be too self-effacing to wish to do so, but at club level Messi has nothing to fear should he ever be required to respond to the challenge show us your medals His personal trophy cabinet is creaking from the last 12 months alone - despite the failure to retain the Champions League - and former Barca coach Johan Cruyff says such graceful talent cannot be taught but is innate. Why is he the best player in the world? Because he has the ability to do difficult things without suffering, without getting in a flap. Whats great about Messi is he does very simple things. Or that he does what appears to us to be difficult simply and coolly, said the Dutch master. Cruyff himself was similarly lauded in his day, his subtle tricks providing the panache which Barca fans crave and demand. The parallel with Messi is apposite in a wider sense, however. For the international stage brought only disappointment for the Dutchman in the form of a 1974 World Cup final defeat to Germany while Messi in an Argentina shirt has to date proved a paler version of the one who sparkles so brightly in the blau-grana colours of Barca. Sitting in his personal trophy cabinet is a World Cup winners medal, but from 2005 at the junior level. Back then, the potential of the man from Rosario who Barca brought over to Europe a decade ago after the club offered for his growth hormone deficiency, was obvious as he finished top scorer and was voted player of the tournament. The same year he became the youngest player to feature in La Liga and the youngest to score a league goal. He also made one of the shortest debuts in international history - two minutes before being sent off for an elbow in a friendly against Hungary. Already, comparisons were being made with one Diego Armando Maradona - and now the pairs immediate fate is to be shackled together as coach and star player at the World Cup finals - the stage where Messi has to show that he can go one better than Cruyff and win the tournament. Injury marred his preparations in Germany four years ago but after former coach Jose Pekerman described Messi as a jewel he benched the youngster instead of allowing him to provide the extra degree of lustre required to see off the hosts in the quarter-finals. Pekerman rued the decision after the Germans won, needless to relate, via a penalty shootout. Hence Messis pressing need to add the medal that is still missing from his otherwise impressive collection. A lopsided qualifying campaign included the nadir of a six-goal thrashing in Bolivia that suggested that, even with Messi in the ranks, the jury is still out on whether Maradona has sufficient coaching acumen to coax a winning formula from the aggregate of talent at his disposal. Pekerman thinks any team with Messi on board has to have a chance. Leo has matured and I think theres really now no limit to what he can achieve, Pekerman said.