Messi will spearhead Argentina's challenge in Brazil, but Kempes has called on the rest of the team to "support" the Barcelona forward.
"You can put the players on the pitch but they always move and systems change. I think, though, that Messi has to be a special case and that the other nine outfield players should support him," Kempes told FIFA's official website.
"But one player on his own is not going to win you the World Cup. That's impossible. He can have an important part to play, no question, but there's no way he can win every game for you by himself."
Kempes scored twice in the 1978 final as Argentina beat Netherlands 3-1.