Lionel Messi Must Play in a Different League to Be Greatest Player Ever

Aaron Gales@@AaronSportLive Correspondent IIJanuary 10, 2013

Is he the greatest player of all time?
Is he the greatest player of all time?Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Having just won his fourth straight Ballon D'or title, there is no doubt that Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer of his generation. Whether or not you agree that he deserved to win over the talents of Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo is a moot point.

Messi is a genius.

Anybody who can score 91 goals in a calendar year is a bit special, after all.

However, when people weigh up the great Messi-Ronaldo debate, the one area where Ronaldo always wins is the fact that he has proven himself in two different leagues. He enjoyed six fantastic years in England with Manchester United and has become an even greater player since joining Real Madrid.

Ronaldo has proven that he can be successful wherever his career takes him, which is something that Messi has yet to do.

Now, if I were playing for Barcelona—arguably the greatest club side in history—I would be in no rush to leave either. The weather is great, he's winning trophies and they pay him a fortune to do so.

But sooner or later Messi will have to consider the legacy that he wants to leave behind when he finishes playing. He is already the greatest player in Barcelona's long and illustrious history. He has nothing left to achieve there.

Messi is already being compared with the two greatest players in history in Pele and Diego Maradona, and many people would argue that he surpasses both.

Maradona himself excelled at Barcelona. But it was in Italy that he truly excelled, leading Napoli to the only two league titles in their entire history.

This is the challenge: Messi needs to prove he is the greatest of all time. He needs to go somewhere else and drag a team to success. He needs to make a good team into a great one. Achieving success with Argentina would also be a big tick in his column.

Despite all of the success in his career, there is still a great deal left for Lionel Messi to achieve.