Today’s topic seems to be whether Lionel Messi is the greatest attacking footballer ever. (For some reason, defenders are always ruled out of these pub-talk comparisons.) Those of us who are old enough to remember Pele’s arrival in  the 1958 World Cup and his dominance of the 1970 tournament, or who remember Maradona in his Napoli period, or Cruyff in Germany in 1974, and my friend Jack who regards George Best as  deity, might have difficulty accepting that. However my take is that it is too early to judge. The only objective way of comparing  great forwards is by examining their career records in terms of longevity and goals per game. Do that and Messi, at age 24, ranks already above everyone, except for Pele, whose eye-bulging 1152 goals in 1220 games make his case very difficult to oppose. The argument will go on for ever and no conclusion will ever be reached, but most people with enough years and experience to make an informed judgement will agree that Messi’s football is the most beautiful they have ever seen. It’s a pleasure to be around while he’s at his peak.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Simon Reid
    March 11, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I agree. It’s too early to judge. I also agree with the commentators who point out Messi is yet to make a name for himself on the international stage. Pele, Cruyff and Maradona were all outstanding players in international competition, but I was disappointed with Messi’s performance during the World Cup. He was still brilliant, but he didn’t raise his team to glory as Pele and Maradona did.
    All things being equal – and by that I mean, if Pele and Maradona were afforded the same on-pitch protection as Messi enjoys in the modern game – my vote would go to Pele, because I believe he redefined the standard of just how ingenious a great footballer can be.

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