It’s hard to believe that someone who’s still only 25 and had to take growth hormones to ensure he could play at this level is talked about as potentially the best of all time, but Lionel Messi is that good.
Scoring 212 goals in 243 games for Barcelona domestically, Messi has been the iconic figure behind the Catalan giants’s dominance in recent years. Quick, clinical, consistent and a big match player, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the great players, regardless of what happens from now until the end of his career.
He doesn’t have a bad team behind him either. You could take Messi out of Barcelona and they’d still have a shot at winning every competition available to them. Maybe that sums up just how special this team is.
It’s difficult to really pinpoint what makes Messi so formidable, but his footwork is certainly a factor. Blessed with the most nimble, soft and lightning feet around, he takes more touches than most, and as soon as the defender thinks he has the ball, Messi swipes it away from him in the blink of an eye.
His rival, and rightfully so, is Cristiano Ronaldo. These two guys do extraordinary things week in and week out. The goals that they’re averaging is pretty much unheard of in the modern game. At such a high level, regardless of the quality of the opponent, they consistently terrorize teams and score regularly. But, Ronaldo has only won the title once in Real Madrid, while Messi has won the La Liga five times.
The two play football very differently. Ronaldo is considered the archetypal modern game player — a phenomenal athlete who uses pace and power relentlessly and has the ability to maraud through the heart of any team. Messi, with his low center of gravity, ducks and weaves as he glides through defenses and smashes home on a regular basis.
Even Diego Maradona, who a lot of people to this day consider the greatest in history, declares Messi his ‘successor’. Along with the ex-Argentina Manager, there’s been Pele, Zinedine Zidane, Zico and others, but there may be no other player like Messi.
Perhaps one thing missing from his career is a massive achievement at International level. A World Cup win for Argentina is missing from his resume. I think if he can excel at this level, then he can be considered the best.