Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are all considered 3 of the best players in today’s game but have yet to really shine on the world’s biggest stage, in order to be remembered as a true legend I feel you have to perform above all at a World Cup, with South Africa 2010 about to kick-off let’s look at some of the contenders for the tournaments best player.
Messi has mesmerized all that have watched him this year, his 47 goals in Spain for FC Barcelona have helped him stand alone at the number 1 spot and he is without a doubt, going into the competition as the world’s greatest player. His strength, incredible dribbling ability, tremendous goals and nationality have unsurprisingly had many comparing him to his National coach Diego Maradona, who is seen by most as the greatest player of all time.
However, Maradona earned his legendary status not just from what he did domestically but even more so for how he performed at International level.
In 1986, with a below average supporting cast he almost single handily won the world cup for The Argentines. Then four years later at Italia 90, with an even weaker team, he helped them to finish runners up against the West Germans, the run that he had to assist the single goal that knocked out a much stronger Brazil team was one of the best ever seen.
Messi, unlike Diego, has some incredible talent playing alongside him in this world cup, Carlos Tevez, Diego Milito and Javier Mascherano to name just three. With guys like this and the form Lionel has shown going into the tournament you would be forgiven for thinking Argentina are favorites, unfortunately though Maradona has, so far anyway not been anywhere near as good a coach as he was player and some of his formations, and decisions have been baffling, most notably, leaving out Boca Juniors hero Requelme from his world cup squad.
For me, in order for Messi to be named alongside Maradona as one of the greatest ever to play the game has has to win a world cup, or at least finish as player of the tournament. Shining in the world cup in front of the whole World is what separates modern greats like Zidane, Brazilian Ronaldo, and Maradona to people like David Beckham, Edgar Davids and Louis Figo.
Wayne Rooney to me is undoubtedly England’s most exciting player since Paul Gascoigne and like Messi has flourished on the domestic stage, unfortunately though, a combination of a bad temperament and injuries in big tournaments have so far spoilt his international career. England need Rooney healthy and performing the way he does for Man UTD but also to not get too heated, otherwise I can see him receiving another red card and ruin his and England’s already slim chances of success in South Africa.
Christiano Ronaldo is his own biggest fan and will tell people he is better than Messi, he describes himself as faster, better in the air and more skilful, this over confident attitude, constant diving and a certain winking incident in the last world cup have helped to make him one of the most hated players ever.
I really dislike him as a player, not just because he is too prideful but more due to the fact that he is so good and yet still feels he has to cheat to try and succeed. Portugal’s chances of succeeding through the group of death where originally boosted due to the injury of Ivory Coast’s star player Didier Drogba’s but they too have now been struck with a big blow as a recent injury has ruled Nani out of the competition and I do not feel C Ronaldo is anywhere near Maradona’s level so he will not drag Portugal to glory.
Brazil star man Kaka has already been a world cup winner in 2002, however he was only a squad player then. His attitude and behavior is the complete opposite of Rooney and C Ronaldo’s. The incredible humbleness he shows on and off the pitch, similar to Messi is a breath of fresh air in a sport filled with horrible attitudes and pre-Madonna’s.
Former World player of the year Kaka was amazing at AC Milan, if you need evidence then just watch one of the hundreds of you-tube mixes of his many highlights, however, his first season at Real Madrid was not easy and Kaka suffered an injury plagued season.
He says though that he is now fit and ready, if he really is then there is no reason why he can’t become a World cup winner for the second time. Coach Dunga may not have his team playing that exciting football the world loves to watch but he gets results and guys like Kaka, Robinho and Fabiano can still ad a little samba flavour to The South Americans.
If Brazil do win I wouldn’t be surprised if Robinho is the competitions stand out player, He had a nightmare time at Man City and ended up going on loan back to one of his former clubs, Santos, since then he has got his sparkle back and has played incredibly, He has also been scoring for fun and playing superb for Brazil in there pre-tournament friendly’s. Whatever happens I do expect him to have a great competition and be snapped up by a big European club again soon after.
Spain are joint favorites alongside Brazil to win the competition and have so many great players it makes it almost impossible to choose one single player. If they win the world cup for the first time will anyone stand out alone amongst their stars to be known as the Worlds best player? Or are we simply in a new era where International football has taken a backwards step and the domestic game and Champions league now defines who the world’s greatest player is?