With the Ballon d’Or win on Monday, his 6th of his career, Lionel Messi has proven that he is the greatest player to step foot on a football pitch. His agility, elusiveness, and ability to finish are only a few of his best attributes, and there are many more to his game.
When Messi comes to mind, people who doubt his greatness may think; what about those international trophies he’s never won? It simply does not matter. Messi, year in and year out, has put up astonishing numbers and led his Barcelona teams to first place La Liga finishes and lengthy Champions League runs.
Here’s an eye-opening stat to prove Messi’s individual skill — after Xavi, a longtime teammate of Messi, left for Al-Sadd SC, the Argentine has buried 195 balls in the back of the net in 194 games; and after Iniesta left for Vissel Kobe, he still continued to thrive by netting 42 in 39 matches against some of the world’s best competition (per TalkSport Radio).
Messi ages like fine wine, as seen through the 42 goals he has scored as a 32-year-old. And although this seems like little compared to his historical 91 goal calendar year in 2012 (!), there are 20-year-old wonderkids scoring less than him.
People, like me, I must admit, get caught up in the hype surrounding Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and even Joao Felix. You can tell that the game has changed significantly, from a fundamental, gritty game to one that focuses on individuals and their flashy skills. But Lionel Messi, like no other, stands the test of time and continues to play the game that he knows with great success, and people still attract to it.
The trophies Messi has earned over his 15-year tenure in football can not be counted, and even though there are many in the background, Messi always seems to take the spotlight, whether it be a free-kick from 30 out against the Lev Yashin winner, Alisson Becker, or simply a classy performance against a La Liga team.
Ronaldo, Pele, Maradona … put whoever you want in the conversation. There is no match for Lionel Messi, and I must say myself it is a gift to see this man play right before my eyes. The game comes naturally to Messi, even at a young age with his bald face and messy hair playing alongside greats like Ronaldinho, Eto’o, or even… Zlatan.
So, as I said before, Ronaldo is no comparison, and Messi, to no one’s surprise, still has gas left in the tank. I, along with every other footballer on the face of this planet, am very excited to see what Messi has in store in his final years, so sit back and enjoy it.
(Photo Credit: France 24)