A Not So Messi Performance: Is Lionel Messi the Best Footballer?

Ravit AnandContributor IIIApril 6, 2010

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 06:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates his second goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg match between Barcelona and Arsenal at Camp Nou on April 6, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

There are players in the world, sports stars, who have a unique God given talent to "be all they can be", which is amongst the bestif not the bestin the world at what they do. Such players do not come along often, in fact they often grace the field in a certain era. Blessed are those who have the opportunity to witness such stars in their lifetime.

It is often difficult to suggest, let alone establish an argument, as to why a certain player is arguably the "best in the world" or the "greatest era". The pessimists will say that it is a different era, too many outside interferences have occurred since past times and the game itself has changed and adapted to suit the needs of ideas. Perhaps, nonetheless the same notions and talents remain.

For far too long, the football argument has been set in stone for decades. The question of who is better, Pele or Maradona? Whilst I was not able to physically watch such great players grace the field, documentaries and Youtube clips provide us with glimpses of their sheer class.

This has allowed us to make comparisons between the current crop of world stars that sit at the pinnacle of world football, to the heroes and legends of yesteryear. 

Fortunate are we who can witness the current crop that includes a very special and undoubtedly unique Lionel Messi. Whilst the comparisons have been made between Argentinian duo Maradona and new prodigy Messi, the present argument put forward has been between the little Argentinian and Cristiano Ronaldo.

I refuse to give my two cents worth on the matter, for both have their unique and special advantages. People often talk how a player "on his day" is unplayable, yet both have the capability—arguable Messi more so than Ronaldo—to be unplayable even when they are seemingly ineffective.

Such players can play do nothing for 90 minutes; they can not have a single shot on goal, let alone touch the ball enough times to warrant a break of sweat. Yet they have the ability, the spark, the capability to produce a moment of superb brilliance to take the game by the scruff of its neck and change it's complexion within seconds. 

I for one was ready to criticise Messi for his lack of effectiveness, and goals, against English sides. For all of his antics in the La Liga, I felt the Argentinian failed to deliver in previous two legged Champions League ties against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. Yet as said previously, such players need only a moment of genius to show their worth and turn a game on it's head.

In these games, however, such moments didn't occur. Resulting in me foolishly questioning his ability, mindset, and attitude.

As all great players do, when it was the grandest stage of all he scored in the Champions League final that enabled Barcelona to complete an unprecedented treble in Pep Guardiola's first season in charge. Yet his first legged performance against Arsenal left me contemplating my initial suggestion.

This time Messi was adamant this time to shove those words down my throat indefinitely. His four goal, five star performance dismissed all doubt of being the World's best player.

Mark this date in the calender of world football, not only when I was proven wrong—that doesn't happen often mind you—but Messi proved to the footballing world of his status of the greatest footballer of our generation. Notice I stop short of saying "of the world", as I am in no position to grant someone such a status.

As a generation, as a global audience to world football, we are privileged to say we have witnessed the magical Messi play with that free flowing, non-caring yet fully passionate desire to simply play football. 

Perhaps it's Messi's size that enables him to be the player he is, whilst he is at the age of 22 he withholds an innocent characteristic and youthful love towards the game; just as a child, he rejoices in his happiness. 

They say, "if you cannot beat them, join them". If that's the case I'll happily join Barcelona just for the sheer experience of being able to physically see a master magician play his tricks on his watching audience.