The game of football has seen stars dominate the sports at various times, from the legendary Pele to the great Maradona, several big names have emerged as the face of football during the 20th century and the earliest part of the 21st century. While the sun was setting in the careers of these players that have captivated fans for years, the rise of two youngsters spelt a new age in football.
Every football fan can attest to the fact, that no other generation in football has seen such intense competition for the title of the greatest footballer of all-time than this present generation. Among the plethora of footballers that can be said to be contenders for the title of the greatest footballer of all time, two excellent sportsmen, each unique in their own way, are a subject of controversy in every discussion of the greatest footballer of all time. The names, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are not new to the world of football, in fact, each year, these two players add another trophy as well as individual honours to their already vast collection of individual laurels.
In a two-part article, we’ll examine why each of these two footballers can be said to be the greatest footballer of all time. It’s important to note, that we are in no way endorsing any player as the greatest of all time, but are stating facts, that would make every football fan in his good judgement, decide who exactly can be considered as the greatest footballer of all time.
1. He is an amazing goal and assists machine
Lionel Messi is dubbed the Goal Machine for a reason, and he’s living up to the title. In La Liga, Messi holds the record for the most goals with 423 goals. In a season, Messi also holds the record for the most goals, having scored 50 goals in a season. In Europe’s top club competition, the UEFA Champions League, Messi has the most hat-trick scored by a player with 8 hat-tricks. In the Copa America, he has scored 13 goals, the most for any South American footballer. Aside goals, Messi is the current footballer in the Spanish league, the La Liga, with the most assists, with 173 assists. He is also the all-time top goalscorer for the Argentinian national football team, having scored over 68 goals. Messi has scored a total of 676 goals, in 831 appearances for his club as well as his country.
2. He has a catalogue of trophies for both club and country
Being a creative footballer, Messi skills has earned him, not only goals but also trophies. The Argentinian has from the start of his career shown he was the future of football. After winning his first La Liga title in the 2004/05 season, Messi has gone on to win 9 more, bringing his total La Liga trophy to 10. He has claimed the UEFA Champions League trophy, on four different occasions, he also has earned the UEFA Super Cup glory, three times. The Spanish Super Cup and Spanish Cup have been lifted by the ingenious footballer eight and six times respectively. He also has won the FIFA Club World Cup, three times, in his career.
3. He is an undisputed dribbling genius
The fame that follows Lionel Messi has made him receive the unwanted attention of world-class defenders, who most times are way bigger and sturdy than the Barcelona man, and would stop at nothing to see him dispossessed of the ball, but Messi still manages to beat such defenders, by dribbling. An article by the British Journal of Medicine points out that excellent performance in sports is attributed to the combined function of training and genetics. Messi was blessed with Endurance and speed, but not with height and a good skeletal system, but when that was corrected, coupled with the intense and rigorous training he has had over the years, the dribbling genius was born.
4. He is decorated with individual laurels
Throughout his career, Messi has claimed several individual laurels, that has made him one of the most decorated footballers in the 21st century. He has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or on four occasions, the Ballon d’Or once, the FIFA World Player of the Year, once, the Best FIFA Men’s Player, once, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, once, and the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award, two times. He has also been crowned top scorer across various competitions, 15 times.
5. He has excellent team coordination skills
As revealed by Barcelona teammate, Gerard Pique, Messi’s opinion as captain of the side, often conforms with the general belief of the dressing room. During games where Messi finds it difficult to defeat the defence, he ensures he sets up his teammates to get the job done, no wonder he has the most assists in the Spanish League.
6. Messi is a naturally talented footballer
Like most successful individuals in every discipline in the world, Lionel Messi has incredible football talent since he was a boy. That talent was the motivating force that pushed Barcelona to sponsor a life-changing treatment for Messi who suffered from a growth hormone deficiency. Coupled with hard work, Messi’s talent has lifted him to the ranks of football greatest.
7. He is a team-work specialist
As a youngster new to professional football, Messi has worked with great players in the game of football, and he has interacted with such players incredibly especially on the pitch. As a youngster in Barcelona, he played great football with the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldinho. He later went on to form a wonderful trio with Andres Iniesta and Xavi, who finished in the final three for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or.
8. He scores high-quality goals
Aside from scoring goals, the nature of those goals gives an insight into the calibre of the player and the case is no different for Lionel Messi. One of his most iconic goals occurred in 2007, in a match against La Liga rival, Getafe. Young Lionel, dribbled his way from the other half to score what was one of the most iconic goals in Laliga.
9. He has excellent adaptation skills
Often, the arrival of a new manager has been the end of several promising careers, but in Messi’s case, that has been an exception. Under former Barcelona coaches, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique and currently manager, Ernesto Valverde, Messi have kept his top performance. He has also adapted to changes in teammates, such as learning to team up with Ivan Rakitic following the exit of Iniesta and Xavi.
10. Messi is a speed forward
A necessary skill for every footballer especially forwards is speed. And for Messi, he has just enough to beat most defenders. Though he may not be the fastest forward in the world, Messi’s speed has seen him made wonderful passes and also made him score amazing goals.
There you have it—our top 10 reasons why Lionel Messi can be considered as the greatest footballer of all time. Why do you consider Messi as the world’s best footballer? Please share with us in the comments section below.
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