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Messi Will Most Likely Never Be The Best Ever And That’s Okay


Following Sunday’s World Cup final loss to Germany, albeit in extra time, Lionel Messi’s legacy took a sharp hit. If he never wins the game’s most prestigious trophy, Messi will never be considered the greatest soccer player ever, and that’s okay because he is already an iconic figure in the sport with a lot more to contribute.

It’s unfortunate that the Argentine captain ridiculed teammates for their efforts in the final like he wasn’t a part of the game and couldn’t have affected it to his team’s favor.

“We haven’t been in the semifinals for many years and the fact that we played the final and the way we played it, it’s something to be proud of. But we deserved more and that’s why we are sad. The strikers missed the chances we had. It’s a bad feeling for all of us because we couldn’t win the cup and take it to our people. It’s painful to lose it by so little. We were very close of a big change for this national team but we couldn’t finish it,” said the 27-year-old after the match.

Sure, Gonzalo Higuaín was offside throughout the match and Rodrigo Palacio couldn’t flick the ball over Manuel Neuer’s head but the four-time Ballon d’Or winner wasted a chance in the 47th minute as well. Midfielder Lucas Biglia placed a great through ball for the six-time La Liga champion. Messi saw the far post was open so he shot with his preferred left foot and it went off target to result in a goal kick.

Following the match during award presentations, the three-time Champions League winner won the Golden Ball which signifies that he was the best player of the tournament. In a previous article, I stated that Messi would get the award because of getting the Albicelestes to the final so it wasn’t a surprise when he got the accolade. The man he’s battling to be considered the greatest of all time was not pleased with the three-time European Golden Shoe recipient receiving the prize.

“Messi? I would give him heaven if possible but it’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan,” said Diego Maradona on his TV show.

Maradona mentions a marketing plan because Adidas is the sponsor of the Golden Ball and Messi is endorsed by the German company.

To me, Maradona will remain the greatest player ever until someone can catapult a club and country like how he did in his illustrious career. Pele was also a surreal athlete but he played with other iconic players for the Brazilian national team like Garrincha, Didi, Djalma Santos, Nilton Santos and Vava. The national team had so many world class players that they won the 1962 World Cup without O Rei, who got injured the first match of the tournament and was knocked out the tournament. Messi and Pele played for sides that are considered to be the greatest teams of all time because of how much talent they were surrounded by and what they accomplished but Maradona was a man who didn’t play with teams that had an immense amount of talent but he could raise his game to unseen heights.

The 53-year-old played for six clubs in his career but his biggest impact was felt at Napoli where he’s still treated like the messiah in Naples. Before the 1986 World Cup champion played for the club they never won Serie A and with him they had their most successful era by winning the league twice and the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Cup, Europa League, once in a five-year span. Unlike his compatriot whose impact dwindled as his team progressed in the 2014 World Cup, Maradona’s influence grew in 1986 as he had braces in consecutive games in the quarterfinals and semifinals. It was a miracle that Argentina even made the final in 1990 and Maradona didn’t score during the whole tournament but he became more of a playmaker to facilitate his team’s attack and influence his team in another way.

Messi is already on the Mount Rushmore of soccer players along with Johan Cruyff, Maradona and Pele but to be the greatest means transcending the game. Pele was the first black international sports star and served as a missionary for the game playing around the world to spread the message of soccer. Maradona was the short and pudgy troublemaker that transformed into a genius when his feet was on the ball and provided joy to places where they didn’t have a history of winning while carrying decent talent to championship heights. Cruyff is the walking definition of total football that changed the world and gave Barcelona the philosophy they use today.

Lionel Messi should look to LeBron James on how he should view other people’s expectations of him. James changed his legacy by going back home to Cleveland and admitting in his letter that it was going to take a while for him to win a championship again. In a way he’s taking himself out of contention to pass Michael Jordan in being considered the greatest of all time, or G.O.A.T. James went to Miami to follow people’s ideals of needing a championship to be validated in his career and now that he has two, he wants to be a leader in his hometown and region. Argentina doesn’t love Messi because they feel he is more of a Catalan because he’s been at Barcelona since he was 12 and hasn’t performed as well for his national team but in the World Cup he was spectacular and making it to the final was a major accomplishment.

If Messi never wins the big game he’ll still be one of the three greatest players of all time and helped revolutionize the game as a false nine, with tiki-taka and shattering record books every year. Barring injury, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist will be 31-years-old when 2018 comes around and Argentina will have another chance to win their third World Cup. It’ll be unfortunate if Messi never wins the tournament but his career shouldn’t be considered incomplete if he never wins the World Cup.

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  1. yero

    December 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    maradona also has a great teammates in world cup,you little kid who does not watch his games in world cup!

  2. goisles01

    July 15, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I cant tell if this is Pro or anti Messi.

  3. Bergkamp_10

    July 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Scott, you are right. However, most of the time I felt that the Argentina players were just looking for him to perform miracle rather than play with him. Yes Messi is capable of making wonderful runs but it has to be done at the right time. So therefore 90% of the time, he is looking to play simple incisive passes, one twos, quick through balls, quick touches, and this is where I felt his team mates let him down a bit. But he is definitely not blame-free. Yet, I feel our expectations are so high of him that we just want to see him dribble past players like they are not there. That can’t happen until the situation is right, and nowadays, it’s extremely difficult no matter how much skill you have and how much ability you have to go past world class defenders.

    • goisles01

      July 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Agree with this. Plenty of times Messi set up his other teammates for quick 1-2s and the ball was never returned like it would’ve been in Barca

  4. James Cook

    July 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    The frontline of Argentina, outside of Messi, were among the worse in the entire tournament. They blew easy shot after easy shot often set up by the midfield or Messi. They were atrocious. Maradona and Pele never had it this bad, yet Messi lead his team to the finals. It was a stellar defense plus Messi, clearly suffering from fatigue, and a group of pretenders overwhelmed with the moment shanking gimmees all over the place. The final was just another repeat of what his fellow strikers were doing the whole World Cup. These misses rarely made the highlight reel, but anyone who watched the games saw a level of incompetence that made one wonder if they had been paid off to keep the score down. How many times can you miss an open goal by twenty feet or more? How many times can you be dispossessed by the first challenge? How many times can you run offsides two at a time or not run to the open spot two at a time? It boggles the mind how terrible they were. The Germans like the Dutch and Belgians triple teamed Messi every time he approached the box. None of their forwards faced the same pressure. Why? Because their fellow forwards and midfielders were such scoring threats the Argentinian defense had to respect them. It is astonishing just how well that unit shut down such powerful offensive sides. They were only a few minutes from four consecutive shut outs against some of the best offensive teams in the tourney! On the other end of the field, it was Messi and only Messi, and the voting officials saw this and understood.

  5. insert name here

    July 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    When did Messi ridicule his teammates? He said the strikers missed their chances. That includes himself. Also Napoli didnt have a poor team -Maradona was a World record signing & they had several other quality players ie Careca, Ferrara, Bagni & De Napoli to name but a few and had finished 3rd in the league 2 seasons before he joined. Also Argentina had Burruchaga, Ruggeri, Passarella & Valdano when they won it. They had a good team. Dont get me wrong Maradona was unbelievably awesome but lets not pretend he did it all alone. I dont think its right to call any one player the best player ever, not Maradona, not Di Stefano, not Pele, not Romario, not Puskas, not Cruyff, not Van Basten, not Zidane, not Ronaldo, not Arthur Freidenreich (heard of him?). Most of us havent seen all the top players play and therefore its very difficult to make that call. Did the writer of this article watch Maradona or Pele play live through-out their careers?? I doubt it. All you can do is put them in the same bracket and Messi is the best of his generation so therefore has to be up there as does Cristiano Ronaldo. I dont think a World Cup winners medal is necessary to be there. The World Cup is the holy grail but not every top player will win it. You get 2/3 goes at it and it depends on your team too. The Champions league/European cup is the elite competition, Maradona never won one but I wouldnt hold that against him as it would be nonsense to do so and its the same for the World Cup in my view. Messi has been a freak of nature up until the last season and thats why most football people say he is the best theyve seen. Thats why he’s won 4 ballon dors. The last season or so though Messi has lost some of his fitness possibly due to that 3 month injury and the Messi we saw at the World Cup is not Messi at his best. He doesnt seem to have the same energy supplies and without the ball he doesnt move as much as before. I wonder if something else is wrong. He gets sick a lot during games and that coupled with his lack of energy is slightly worrying. I hope its temporary as a fully fit Messi is a freak of nature and would put to bed this “he has to be surrounded by great players nonsense”.. Messi makes other players look better. Just watch the ’09 or ’11 CL finals v Utd to see a fully fit Messi. It saddening to see that people look for ways to slate Messi instead of appreciating how lucky we are to be witnessing his career… Just look at his stats for this season, a season where he hasnt looked near his best he still managed 41 goals and 14 assists in 46 matches with Barca and help lead Argentina to a WC final scoring 4 and assisting 1 in the process…. These figures are mind blowing. Only Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can rack up these figures and instead of looking to knock them or be a Messi OR CR7 fan we should appreciate them both. There were plenty of people knocking Maradona when he was at his best too. Proper football fans would love both. Its amazing that people can attempt to vilify a player like Messi who hardly ever loses control of his emotions, is always polite, never dives, fouls and has given football so much. Its like theyre lookin for something to bitch about but then its a part of human nature to bitch and moan and criticise I guess and its easy too and it gets clicks.

    • Scott Goin

      July 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      I agree with the above comment.

      In the quote I read from Messi, he included himself in those that missed their chances. I certainly don’t see how he’s ridiculing his teammates.

      Winning the World Cup requires an entire team effort and you only get a few cracks at it. No one player can win it on their own. Maradona wasn’t on the pitch by himself.

      That being said, in my view Messi wasn’t able to influence the semi-final or the final in the way I had hoped he would. He looked very tired and was constantly getting the ball taken off him. I think when he got on the ball he tried to do too much with too many defenders around him.

  6. edofcourse

    July 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    “Most Likely Never Be” So the percentage odds are 50.5 to 49.5 or so. Unquestionably, prophetic.

  7. NeilO

    July 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    No problem with that, as long as you don’t subscribe to the ‘CR7 is the best’ belief either.

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