Messi would have won 50 Grand Slams if he played tennis - Rakitic

The mercurial Argentine has dominated football pitches during an illustrious career, and a Barcelona team-mate says he would done likewise on a court

Lionel Messi is such a dominant sportsman he would have claimed 50 Grand Slam titles if he was a tennis player, says Barcelona team-mate Ivan Rakitic.

Messi inspired Barcelona to a domestic double in 2017-18, with La Liga and Copa del Rey crowns captured, while the Argentina superstar's goals ensured he won the Pichichi for the fifth time in his career.

The forward is yet to win a major international honour, though, with Argentina having lost one World Cup final and two Copa America finals in the past four years.

But Rakitic, also preparing for Russia 2018, suggested Argentina - drawn in Group D with Croatia - have a chance of going one step better than at Brazil 2014, despite Messi's protestations they are underdogs.

"As with all other team-mates that went to World Cup, I wished him all the luck," Rakitic said to Croatian newspaper Vecernji list.

"Of course, when you have the best player in the world, you are favourites, although he says they are not.

"He'd give some titles with Barcelona for that one with Argentina. If Messi had played tennis, he'd have won 50 Grand Slams!

"But you don't play football by yourself, it is not an individual sport."