There was one question asked constantly during this year’s World Cup, if Messi doesn’t win it can he be regarded in the same breath as players like Maradona and Pele? There are many experts believing that you can’t, that the very best have to win the biggest prize of them all to get that kind of lofty status but in this new footballing world we live in, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Let us get the facts out of the way first, Lionel Messi is a once-in-a-generation player in an era where we are lucky enough to have two of them. He’s a mesmerising footballer easily capable of winning games on his own at times, a unique talent that has shown time and time again just how good he is. He’s won the Ballon D’or four times, the European Golden Shoe for top scorer in all of Europe’s top leagues three times and although some would say undeservedly he also won the Golden Ball in Brazil.
And that’s just his personal accolades, he’s won six La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey’s, two Club World Cup Championships and the Champions League three times. There isn’t many who could compare to that at club level and even in international level, despite not winning anything with the senior side he’s still reached the finals of a World Cup and a Copa America which is still no mean feat.
There’s no doubting what he’s done in the game, there’s no doubt in how talented he is and how much he’s entertained us over the years yet still some can’t mention him with the greats. When you start doing something like this, you start eliminating other top class players. Was Euseibo not a great player? Was Di Stefano? Giggs? Best?
That’s the problem with these kinds of conversations, comparing greats with other greats in a different generation just shouldn’t be done. There’s different rules, different conditions and all sorts of other factors that come in to play while we should just be appreciating the wonderful footballers we’ve been lucky to see.
If he never wins a World Cup, Messi is still one of the all-time great footballers we will ever witness. He’s been above and beyond every single player currently playing at some point in his career, widely accepted as the greatest player on the planet and there should be no more argument about his legacy. If you start eliminating players because they were unfortunate to be born in a time where their international team-mates aren’t up to standard and there are more competitive teams than ever then it never, ever will become a fair argument.