Posted by Andy Turner on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Under: Football
On 20th March 2012, at just 24 years of age, Lionel Messi scored his 233rd and 234th goals for Barcelona to take him past the record set in the 1940s and 50s by César Rodríguez Álvarez. Is he the greatest player to have every graced a football pitch? There are a number of factors that have to determine a great player, skill, impact on games, longevity in the game. If for example Messi got an injury and never played again, would he still be seen in generations to come as good as Pele or Diego Maradona.
It is so difficult to compare players from different eras. Pele scored an incredible 1283 goals in his career, a feat that will surely never be beaten. In January 2012 Pele said that Messi still has a lot of improving to do. "When Messi's scored 1,283 goals like me, when he's won three World Cups, we'll talk about it," Pele told French newspaper Le Monde. Is this just Pele running scared? You surely can’t compare the quality of a player solely based on goals and winning World Cups. The era Pele played in is also an interesting factor. The game was played at a much slower pace than it is today, would he have been given as much time on the ball had he been playing in European football today? He never tested himself at European level in his career, playing for Santos in Brazil and then for the New York Cosmos in the US. Some people have said that Brazil would have won the 3 World Cups without him in the side.
Maradona is very similar to Messi, his tiny stature and close ball control enabling him to skip past players as though they weren’t there. He played in both his native country of Argentina but also proved himself in Europe too, winning the Italian Championship twice in what was seen as an average side. He also some people say single handedly won the 1986 World Cup with Argentina with in the Quarter Finals against England scoring possibly the greatest goal of all time. There was also a lot of controversy in his playing career which tarnished his reputation somewhat, his drug taking and his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in ’86 put doubts amongst people that although he was without doubt the most naturally gifted player of a generation, some of his talent was wasted and so somewhat hindering his quest to have be called the greatest ever.
Messi is still only 24 years of age, yet to reach his footballing peak, if he can stay clear of injuries he can only get better and better. He is scoring goals for fun albeit with one of the greatest club sides that has ever been and there is no doubt, playing in another side he would not score nearly as many goals but you would still see the class and natural ability shine through. People question his World’s greatest tag because he has not done it at international level. In today’s football however, the Champions League is held in higher esteem than International football and at the tender age of 24 he has already won 3 Champions League and 5 La Liga titles. He may or may not win World Cup but I still feel that when he retires he will be seen as the greatest player to have played the game. Possibly in Pele’s homeland in 2014, Messi will finally steal the title of the World’s greatest off South America’s most famous number 10.
In : Football
Tags: lionel messi
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