The 20th and 21st Century has certainly seen its fair share of footballing legends. Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Raul and Zinedine Zidane are a few leading examples of the players that, in their prime, were magical to watch. But, did any of them even contest the current form Lionel Messi is in? Arguably, no, they didn’t. The little Argentine has been in exceptional form this season, and proved once again against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi final that he is simply in a league of his own at the top. The way he tears apart defences time and time again is emphatic, and not even Christiano Ronaldo, despite how brilliant a season he has also had, has been able to keep up to the magnificence Lionel Messi has shown. The question still remains of whether any current football player is able to contain the genius of Lionel Messi? I’m sorry, but there just isn’t.
Despite being only 23 years old, Lionel Messi has already won the Ballon d’Or twice in consecutive years, and is looking to be one of Barcelona’s numerous prolific strikers. This season alone, Messi has already mustered a preposterous 52 goals from 50 games in all competitions. Any normal striker who was on a ratio of roughly one goal every two games would be praised as doing well. The Argentine International on the other hand, is on in excess of one goal per game. No one, apart from once again Ronaldo, comes anywhere close to this type of brilliance. With five games remaining in La Liga, and a few more games potentially in the Champions League, you wouldn’t mind betting Messi gets to over 65 goals this season. He is just that good. When you consider Lionel Messi, the sky is the limit.
The unbelievable thing about him is that he can score with any chance possible. We witnessed his unexpected heading ability against Manchester United in the Champions League a few years ago when he out jumped Rio Ferdinand to score, who’d have thought? He can also score from outside the box, inside the box, out on the left, out on the right. Anywhere he shoots from, or dribbles from; you just get the feeling something is going to come from it. Despite being only 5”7, and probably no heavier than the average school boy, he is still able to shake off opposition defenders who are often considerably taller and heavier. His combination of speed, control and accuracy is what makes him so effective, and therefore virtually untouchable. Any time you watch him, the expression of ‘the ball glued to your feet’ is literal, it’s always within a few inches of his boot.
Many teams have tried to tame the beast that they call ‘The Little Maestro’, but most have failed. Arsenal done quite well in the first leg of their meeting with Barcelona, but in the second, on home soil, he annihilated them. This could therefore suggest a minor defect in Messi, which is that he isn’t as effective on English soil. Anywhere else on the planet however, he’s out of this world. To date, no one can match him, and to be honest, I can’t see someone with his ability coming along again any time soon. Undoubtedly, there will be a player in the future that will be just as good, if not better, because you always get that with football. But for the moment, Messi remains the King, and will remain on his throne for several years to come, and in all honesty, how much better can you get?