by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi doesn’t need to prove doubters wrong. Truth is, he does it every in every other random game. It is practically a norm to the captive football world.
Over the weekend, the diminutive Argentine broke Gerd Muller’s record of 40 years, with two clinical finishes. And just last night against Cordoba, he extended the new record with two more goals – he has scored 88 so far in a calender year, with two or three matches to go.
For all his numbers and phenomenal displays, Messi still divides opinions. There’s that little rival gang, that religiously claim that Cristiano Ronaldo is the better player. Their argument is simple. The Portuguese winger is not only a more complete player, he has strutted his stuff in the English and Spanish Leagues. Apart from his very brief stint in his native Argentina, Messi has played all his career for Barcelona.
It’s a very valid opinion, but it manages to negate itself. No two football players are the same in physique and technique. Even the hot and cold Nani, who spends every season trying to reach Ronaldo’s dizzying heights, will testify. If Messi’s style is to drag half of your team to himself and still manage to leave them in their wake, so be it. There are players who have spent all their careers at a particular football club, but they will never be talked about in the same breath as the 25-year-old.
I will not even bother with the Maradona and Pele comparisons. This is 2012, where defenders will take out your most dangerous player with a fierce two-footed tackle, or more leniently, mark him out of the game. Messi always gets back up and dazzles even more whenever he is a victim of these tackles.
Having said all these, let’s spare a thought for Ronaldo. He would have been hailed as the best player on the planet, if only Messi’s parents had not met. His lethal mix of pace, vision, strength and brilliant technique, has left teams in the Premiership and La Liga battered. His arrogance is god-like and his ability is sensational.
However, Messi, is arguably the greatest footballer that has graced a football pitch.