When asking any fans, former and current player and the sportswriters as whom is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) the answer for them will be Pele or Maradona. Each supporter for this player had their own reason on why both is the greatest and although they are different of opinion both had one common achievement, they had won the World Cup. Furthermore, both players had also made a significant contribution for the club they are playing where Pele is the part of Santos team that become the first football team in the world to won treble in the ’50s and Maradona is the main player for the Napoli who had won the Serie A title for the first time in late ’80s. On the record of winning World Cup and contribution for their football club, both players will be told as the GOAT but in 2009 they is one player who comes from Argentina and playing for Barcelona that had challenged the GOAT status for both of this player and he is nonother than Lionel Messi.
One criticism that had been against him for him to be GOAT is Messi performance with the national team. They are one common exaggeration that Maradona had won the World Cup single-handedly which is not the truth. He had the support of one of the great Argentina national football team manager Carlos Bilardo who had created the 3-5-2 formation to accommodate Maradona talent. He is also supported by Oscar Ruggeri one of the best defenders that come from South America, Sergio Batista one of the best defensive midfielder, and also Jorge Valdano one of the main players in La Quinta del Buitre Real Madrid that dominated the Spanish league in the ’80s. Messi does not have the privilege of playing with some capable player in the current generation as Argentina team currently does not have a striker like Gabriel Batistuta or Hernan Crespo, midfielders like Diego Simeone, Veron, Fernando Redondo, Juan Roman Riquelme and the defensive leader like Roberto Ayala. Simply, Messi is the only star man in the team. The nearest Messi had come to win the World Cup is in 2014 when they had reached the final only to lost it against German after wasting numerous chances. With this limitation, Messi still able to help Argentina to 3 Copa America Final and 1 World Cup final but unfortunately, he had lost all 4 of them.
To win the World Cup, the national team must have some of the best player available in that period and sadly Argentina does not have that hence this is one the reason on Argentina fall shot with Messi in the international games. Maradona and Pele had the luxury of some of the great player coming through their respected country in that period. When Pele played with Brazil he had the support of the player like Carlos Alberto, Rivelino , Jairzinho , Tastao , and Garrincha. This is the period where the Brazil football had been hailed as one of the best national team ever. Looks at the history of World Cup winners and all team had the support of some of the best player in the current generation hence that is the reason the team can win the World Cup. When Italy won the World Cup in 1982, Paolo Rossi had been hailed as the main reason but he is supported by Marca Tardelli, Dino Zoff , Claudio Gentile, and Gaetano Scirea who had been hailed as one the best defender from Italy. The player must be equally good to accommodate their main player in the team and sadly Argentina may have the best forward line but the midfielder and the defender are nowhere near the previous generation Argentina team.
However, when comes to the club football Messi performance was inhumane. He had scored a breath-taking 91 goals in the calendar year and creating a world record of scoring in 21 consecutive games. Before Messi come to the limelight, Barcelona only has 2 Champion League title and now they had 5 titles. 3 of them had been during Messi time. With him, Barcelona is one of the greatest team and without him, Barcelona is just a good team but not a great team.
Messi had an excellent dribbling skill, but he also is a great finisher and can make a good pass as he had the best record in goals scored and assist. Messi also can make a great free-kick and shoot from long distance. One of the criticisms that can be leveled against Maradona is that although he had been managed to make Argentina to win the world cup and also make Napoli the Seria A winner during a time where Italian team is the best in the world, his career is absolutely short. 4 years after winning the World Cup, Maradona career had come to a slump where his drug addiction and his off-field persona had deteriorated his performance. However, Messi is a player who had performed and broken many records while performing consistently for a long season. When Xavi and Iniesta had left Messi had become the playmaker for Barcelona and still, he is able to excel in that position too. He had to perform this feat for a long time since he had come to the limelight in 2009 under the superbly assembled team of Barcelona managed by Pep Guardiola.
They are some unjustified criticism for the Messi that is undeserved. Messi had been said to playing in one league and does not perform his skill in other leagues. Pele is a player who had scored 1000 goals while playing in Brazil all long so why Pele had been deemed as the greatest player. Maradona does not win the UCL, but he is also deemed as the greatest ever player. Paolo Maldini and France Baresi had been said one of the best defenders but they had played with AC Milan for all the career. Hence the performance of the player with only one team can’t be used to deny him as the GOAT.
With Barcelona, Messi had won numerous team trophy and individual awards that are not seen in the footballing world before. Messi also had won the World Player of the Year awards for 4 consecutive year which is an amazing feat. One of the reasons that will be told against Messi is Maradona and Pele had played in an era where brutal foul and tacking from behind is allowed and the current laws of the player had been favoring to the attacking player. But the current generation had been exposed to a greater diet, better organization, and more systematic approach when come to defending but still, they’re unable to stop Messi from running rampant on them.
The great Ronaldinho during his Barcelona had simply said that he is not the best player in the world is Lionel Messi. Messi may not win the World Cup to be the GOAT but in inhumane performance with Barcelona and the superior performance that he is showing for a long year in running is something that is never been seen in the footballing world. Some player can perform great but it just for a short period of time but Messi is an exception and for this, he deserved to be the GOAT even though he had not won the World Cup.