The Case Against Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi this evening moved within touching distance of Gerd Muller’s record of most goals scored in a calendar year, following a brace in Barcelona’s 3-0 Champions League defeat of Spartak Moscow.
Messi, currently with a goal tally of 80 for both club and country, has just over a month to score 6 more times and surpass the almost impossible feat set in 1972 by the legendary German.
Drawing plaudits from all corners of the footballing community, surpassing this long standing record would help to strengthen claims that Messi is greatest player of all time.
However, the case should be made that Messi’s distinct lack of flaws is in itself, an inherent weakness in his game.
Firstly, the greatest contender to his crown Cristiano Ronaldo also happens to play for Barcelona’s biggest rivals Real Madrid.
With his bulbous ego refusing to accept his fate as the second best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo will continue to play better than he might if he was the best player in the world.
With Real being the biggest threat to Barca, domestically, it becomes apparent that Messi may not be the godsend the Catalan giants once thought.
If you consider the other players on the Barcelona team, one should never overlook the very human emotion of jealousy. Although all professionals, the primal urges of man are hard to avoid.
Players like Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Villa who are legends in their own right, may not cherish the thought of being immortalised as ‘part of the team that Messi was in’.
This can lead to disharmony amongst the players, which in turn can hinder their performances and dis-rail Barcelona’s attempts to conquer at home and abroad.
Finally, for Messi himself should he pass the record, is left with little motivation to continue playing really well and may get fat and lazy as was seen with Diego Maradona.
Really Like Football would like to offer Messi the following tips to avoid being spoiled by his own infallible talent.
A) Try to give the other team a chance once in a while. This can be done by vowing not to score for a half, or wearing your boots on the incorrect feet.
B) Set yourself personal targets such as scoring no more than one goal per game or seeing how long you can sit down whilst the game is going on before the supporters get properly cross.
3) Give Valdes a chance up front. He must be getting really bored doing nothing game after game, and no one likes the bloke who refuses to go in goal once in a while. Try your hand (literally!) at being a goalkeeper. Not only will this make Valdes feel more included, but it’ll add more skills to your CV.
D) Demand a move to a team where there aren’t lots of other good players. If you were playing somewhere like Aston Villa or Q.P.R. you would have to work harder and it might not be as easy to be so good.