How good is Lionel Messi?
FC Barcelona player and Argentine international Lionel Messi won several “Player Of The Year” awards for 2009 and is on pace to do the same for 2010. His performances in recent weeks in La Liga and the Champions League have been nothing short of world class. He scored four goals in a Champions League win against Arsenal and a goal in the 2-0 victory against La Liga rivals Real Madrid. Overall, he has 38 goals in 38 matches for Barcelona in the 2009-10 season.
The question now remains, how good is Lionel Messi?
The Greatest Ever?
Anyone who is claiming that Messi is the greatest player of all time is getting ahead of themselves. He is only 22 and still needs to prove himself throughout his career. If he continues to perform at the same level after 10 years then the argument is much more compelling. While Messi does still have a lot to prove, there’s little doubt that he has the ability to become one of the greatest of all time. Many have already drawn comparisons to Argentine great Diego Maradona.
Again, it’s unfair to answer this question of if Messi is the best player of all time or even one of the best until his career comes to a close.
His skill with the ball makes top defenders look like amateurs and has commentators speechless. This season he’s been in incredible goal scoring form and shined in crucial matches. When Messi gets a clear cut chance, it’s almost always in the back of the net. He doesn’t convert every chance (no one does) but he’s talented that it won’t be long before another one comes along.
Messi is not very tall (5’7″) but makes up for it with his agility and quickness. He’s not afraid to take on defenders with the ball and can hold possession as well as anyone. Along with these abilities, Messi can shoot with deadly accuracy on free kicks and from outside the 18 yard box.
One aspect that Messi often doesn’t get much attention is his ability to play defense, win the ball back in midfield, and help out recover when teams are counter-attacking. In La Liga, Barcelona is known for their ability to control possession and force teams to play defense. Messi exemplifies this by his willingness to win the ball back especially if he’s responsible for the turnover.
What about his form for Argentina?
The one area where Messi has yet to prove himself is on the international stage for Argentina. He has 13 goals in 41 appearances for Argentina since getting his first cap 2005. He played a limited role in the 2006 World Cup but will get his chance in the upcoming 2010 World Cup. If Messi can translate his form from Barcelona to Argentina then he will go a long way towards becoming one of the best players of all time.
Maradona and Pele, who have been regarded by many as the top two players of all time, have both won World Cups and shined on the international stage. Messi has shown he is an unbelievable club player but he’s yet to prove that on the international level. This is not uncommon as there are other players who show terrific form for their club but can’t do the same for their country.
As I said before, Messi is only 22 and he will likely play in 3 more World Cups during his career. He will have plenty of time and opportunities to improve his form for Argentina.
It’s clear, at least for now, that Lionel Messi is the best player in the world. He continues to improve each season and still has his prime years of his career ahead of him. Talk of him being the greatest player of all time is too early and he needs to prove himself at this summer’s World Cup. If Messi could lead Argentina to the World Cup title, then the discussion of him in the same breath as Diego Maradona could start to begin.