Messi is not the greatest! “Calling Messi the best footballer ever is like referring to soap as the ultimate cleaner”

by Ifada Johnson

 If Messi is regarded as the best footballer, can he ever be a better defender that Baressi?

His name may be Messi but he shows no mercy and leaves his opponents messy.

234 goals at only 24 years of age, and he still has a lot of years ahead to shatter all the records and rewrite history. They call him the greatest footballer that has graced the world of football. Football commentators have almost made his name synonymous with ‘greatest, best, each time you watch a Lionel Messi play, you will be forgiven if you concluded that his middle names are such adjectival descriptions.

But, is he the best footballer ever? I am not anti-populist. I don’t necessarily have to go against the crowd for no cogent reason. Although being independent minded is my console. My answer to that question is a resounding NO! The realisation that in life it is pretty normal for some to be celebrated more than others is almost forcing me to stop writing at this point. But I will resist. Note that I am not trying to convince you or make you see reasons with my point of view. It is my opinion. Read it and make your inference.

I appreciate the rationale behind the decision to honour an individual as the best of the pack of footballers. But like all things in life with pros and cons, this decision has rubbed off on our appreciation of the ‘best footballers’ out there. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the best footballer has to be he/she who scores the most goals. Players with attacking tendencies have made the honour theirs for keeps. Yes, they display a lot of flair and skills on the ball. They mesmerise their opponents into submission. They score some out-of-this world goals that leave our mouths open in awe. How about their dribbling abilities and pace on and off the ball? Always fascinating.

Each time Lionel Messi scores a goal or makes an assist, somebody somewhere records it down. But I ask: who recorded the number of successful tackles that Franco Baressi made in his career as one of the best defenders the game has seen? Who recorded the number of saves that Lev Yashin made in his career. Who recorded the number of interceptions Frank Rijkaard made as a player? Is it that these statistics are just not important enough to be recorded?

How about a goal keeper? How often has Iker Cassillas singlehandedly ‘won’ matches for Real Madrid over the years? A goal keeper is the last man in the defensive set up and has to be on top of the game for a team to get a positive result off a game.

I join my voice with many who have clamoured for the return to the former system where players are honoured according to their positions. If Messi is regarded as the best footballer, can he ever be a better defender that Baressi? Can he be anything near Oliver Khan? Can he run up and down the flanks Cafu or Roberto Carlos did? Can he marshal the midfield like Andrea Pirlo. There is a reason why there are 11 players on a team; they complement each other and play individual but important roles.

Calling Messi the best footballer ever is like referring to soap as the ultimate cleaner. It will do a lot of cleaning but can it be a substitute for toothpaste? If still in doubt try it tomorrow morning.

At the end of the day, life is not fair.

@IfadaJohnson

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Comments (9)

  1. I applaud your "bravery" in publicly taking an unpopular position. I also like the way you've have so intellectually put across your arguments. While I appreciate your perspective on the matter, I'm sure you know that the success of any team is not based on higher ball possession, neither is it based on the number of excellent crosses, passes or tackles made. In fact, we acknowledge the efforts of these players and that's why there is the "Man of the match" awards. Do you agree? Great. A team qualifies/ wins/ carries a silverware by scoring higher number of goals. And my friend, Scoring is difficult! Very difficult. Ask Torres! Now, Messi is only 24… I'm sorry but do I need to go further? I think your position on the matter is unpopular for all the right reasons.

    Nice write-up though! Don't stop.

  2. Ifada, like you aptly put it, its your opinion and unfortunately, it hardly counts in world football. Last time l checked, the basis of the beautiful game is outscoring your opponent. Who else to grab the headlines and laurels other than the man who puts the ball into the net with flair and all? I recall Cannivaro being voted the best player after the 2006 WC, was he the highest goal scorer? In the final analysis, more than goals scored goes into picking the best player in the world. Going by his stats, denying Messi his dues as regards world footy would be as your last line suggests, very unfair!

  3. @NimrodKing, if we had the stats for the number of successful tackles that Barresi completed in his career am sure you will get a clearer picture.

    Its all self explanatory – …If Messi is regarded as the best footballer, can he ever be a better defender that Baressi? Can he be anything near Oliver Khan? Can he run up and down the flanks Cafu or Roberto Carlos did? Can he marshal the midfield like Andrea Pirlo…

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  5. I'm a Barca fan, so i guess u'll be forgiven 4 calling me a Messi Voltron! I dont buy ur argument n i will tell u why! If all dose defenders and goalkeepers are equally as great, why are dont not stopping him? If fire claims to be d ultimate, wait till it meets water. If Messi is d fire, why are dey not d water 2 put him out?!

  6. There's nothing to voltron here, the writer stated valid points n (s)he's not againt Messi as a person, just peeved about the somewat inappropriate title of best footballer. I also have an axe to grind when it comes to to Highest goal scorer. One player plays 30 games n scores 25 goals while another plays 23 games n scores 24 goals. Player A gets the accolade but Player B has a better goal average and gets nothing (I think there's a competition that rewards this but, for the life of me, can't remember which). This is unfair in my estimation… 🙁

  7. Voltrons of Messi, what are you waiting for?

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail