Is Lionel Messi the greatest soccer player of all time? | The Tylt
Is Lionel Messi the greatest soccer player of all time?
In a performance for the ages, a bloodied and battered Messi kicked the game-winning goal for Barcelona—which also happened to be his 500th club goal. It was a career milestone. It was an epic sports moment. Fans witnessed history. Basically, a sports narrative that writes itself.
After 500 goals for Barcelona, is time to seriously consider Messi as the greatest footballer of all time? Or is that a slap in the face to such a notable football icons like Pelé, Diego Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo?
The bottom line is that there's no one like Messi. He makes it look effortless and his passion for the game is tangible. To achieve the kind of career success Messi has before the age of 30 is unprecedented; the footballer has won the FIFA Ballon d'Or award five times and is the first player to win three European Golden Shoes. And that's not even including the multiple league records he now owns.
With Barcelona, Messi has won La Liga eight times and has four Champions League titles and his goals in Sunday's El Clasico helped lift the Catalan club above Los Blancos to the top of the Spanish league.
Messi is a football god. You can't deny this.
"He loves to play football, he loves to see other people around him playing well. I think he's the best ever because of the talent and the amazing performances he's showing every week."
Oh, you kids. Lionel Messi is great, but how quickly we forget everyone who came before him. What about Johann Cryuff, who literally changed the game? Or Pelé? Let's not forget that Messi is a superstar on a team of superstars, but when he's tasked with carrying a team on his back—he falters.
Most of Messi's magic moments have come for Barcelona, his club and home since the age of 13, where he's assisted by a bunch of world-class players. Statistics show that the striker isn't his superman self in Argentina's blue and white. Since Messi started playing for the Latin American country in 2005, the team has neither won the continental Copa America nor the World Cup. Barring the recent Copa and the 2014 World Cup, he has been underwhelming at these events. Even in these two championships, he was below his best in the finals.
In contrast, both Pele and Maradona have astonishing records for both club and country. Pele was the sole constant in Brazil's unrivalled journey -three World Cup triumphs out of four from 1958-1970. In two of them, his role was singular. While Messi debuted at 18, Pele had already lifted the World Cup at 17, scoring six goals including a hat-trick in the semis and a brace in the final.
Pelé also brought soccer to America. Diego Maradona was not just a star player, but a manager and coach who single-handedly built the Argentina national soccer team. Messi just has some nice stats.