McIlroy dreams of becoming sporting great like Messi and Federer

Rory McIlroy has ambitions to one day become a sporting great like Lionel Messi and Roger Federer.

The Northern Irishman has enjoyed a productive summer which has seen him earn back-to-back majors at the Open and US PGA Championship, with his narrow defeat in the FedEx Cup and the huge monetary jackpot that went with it the only real low point.

Of course also picking up wins at the BMW Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational has seen the 25-year-old reclaim his status as world No.1, as well as become the third youngest player – behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods – to win four majors.

Speaking to The Times, McIlroy said: "Star power is what drives sport. “Messi, Federer - those guys are the pinnacle.

"Look at Federer with 17 slams and years of being world No.1. I've got four. I have a way to go, but I'm on the right path."

McIlroy isn’t shy to admit that he’s aiming to be “one of the best that’s ever played” but he also knows he is still a long way off attaining such an accolade.

"I don't need another year like this one," McIlroy added. "I need another 10."

There was suggestion from McIlroy that tiredness played a part in his inability to win in the final round of the FedEx Cup, with the player complaining of fatigue. He’s now set to rest up before the start of the Ryder Cup next week.

"Physically I was OK, but mentally I was tired and ready to see the back of my golf clubs," he said. "It's been relentless.

"When I get to Gleneagles at least I'll be somewhat refreshed."

And McIlroy was confident about Team Europe’s chances against the USA, despite the fact he has a large target on his head due to the good performances he’s been putting in.

"Tom Watson says they are targeting [Ian] Poulter and myself," McIlroy said. "It's a huge compliment to be singled out and I'm glad. I'm relishing that role. I want to play well and lead by example. I'm not a rookie anymore."

Still, for McIlroy to reach the god-like status that Lionel Messi enjoys while playing his football for Barcelona, or the incredible crowd respect shown to Roger Federer on any tennis court in the world that he steps onto, he’ll need to be playing at the highest tempo he knows, and do it consistently.

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