Sunday, 29 May 2011
Forget about the comparisons; he is a genius!
The term 'world-class' is being used far too loosely today. I often hear people portray a player as being 'world-class' after only a few successful months, in a spell which they apparently set the football nation alight. I have the freedom to state my opinion, and they have the freedom to state their opinion - but what I don't apprehend is people suggesting that a player is consistently playing to the highest standard (being world-class), yet they'll say so to a similar degree of a player who shines for 3 months out of 9. For example there is Gareth Bale, who had an effulgent period at Tottenham Hotspurs this season where he was setting an example to the rest of the Premier League, and this unsurprisingly led to assumptions that he was this 'world-class' British performer that the country had longed for. He later went on to win the highly ambiguous, yet prestigious, PFA award after going through a spell of ordinary displays.
Bale is a fabulous player, and I don't intend to use him for my argument to bash him on his head, but he is a key example to my point. The Welshman had a ravishing first half to the season, but his lack of consistency and overall talent refrained me from thinking that he was performing on the same wavelength to Ronaldo or Xavi. The two I named - Ronaldo and Xavi - have the endurance and capability to produce displays of such inventiveness and lust throughout the whole season, therefore they are 'world-class' players, because not only can they do it for one season, but they do it every single year. This, mind, doesn't only go for Bale, but this has also been the issue with the likes of Forlan, Ribery and Nasri, of whom have been named 'world-class' players countless times, yet aren't to that standard yet.
I can name several 'world-class' players currently plying their trade in Europe. There is Samuel Eto'o, Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Ronaldo, Villa, Lucio, and many more. Why do I believe these players are in that bracket? The reason why is because they have been sparkling for many years, and show no sign of slowing down either.
Over last few season there has been endless debating on Lionel Messi. You know what I mean - Is he the best player ever? How long can he keep this standard up? 'This guy' is as good as Messi! Ronaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldo! Can he cut it in a rainy night at Stoke?
There is no doubt that football supporters will feel the need to question why the Argentinian is that good, but in preference to those questions, why don't we just admit that he is the best player that we have seen for a very, very long time (if not ever that is). Earlier on this season Bale was compared with Lionel Messi. Yes, I repeat, Bale was compared with the best player in the world. Saying such things is reckless and utter nonsense. Why compare a player to a genius triple the player. You don't need to look at Messi's stats of having scored 53 goals in 55 games, and assisting 24 goals, to convince people that he is a living God in football, because his performances over the last three seasons has been nothing short of miracle - not in terms of the unexpected nature of his talent, but in terms of watching a footballer with the talent and humbleness that he occupies.
Ronaldo has been perceived as Messi's greatest rivals for a number of years now. Rival? Not a chance. Messi is undoubtedly the better player, but it's his humility and team - and work - ethic on the pitch that separates them to an even further distance. Last week against Almeria after Ronaldo's shot was blocked off the line with Adebayor following up to score, the Portuguese forward decided to wave his arm in disappointment of the fact that he missed a great chance, and that his team-mate managed to get the goal. That will never be the case with Lionel Messi. He doesn't play for himself - like Ronaldo. His goal-scoring record may advocate to our thinking that he was selfish, but he plays for the team, and that's a major reason why his already highly thought of talents has been boosted.
Xavi and Iniesta are fascinating players, who has the task of supplying the likes of Messi with delicious balls delicately put through the stubborn wall of a defense. The pair, and the underrated Busquets, has enhanced Messi's talents, but thinking that his talents has been created by the playmakers of the Barcelona side is absurd. Messi won't lose his footballing ability without them because he is more than that. He is the best player of his generation because he had the talent and determination to get there. Sure, they are part of the reason why he has scored so many goals, but it's clearly evident that Messi can create his fair share of goals too.
The great Diego Maradona. People say that Messi won't become the greatest player ever to be seen until he wins the World Cup. People say that he must win the World Cup (basically) all on his own? People say he has to go to a team - similar to Napoli in the 80's - and win them the title? People who say this are wrong. I find it a total myth that Lionel has to prove himself at a World Cup to become a player of that endowment. He effectively carried Barcelona to three Spanish titles, two Champions League titles, and many more. Club football is the main process of the sport, and he has done exceptionally well there, and rightfully earned his status that way.
But can he do it in a cold rainy night at Stoke, though? No, because it must be highly difficult for the best player in the world to perform well at a mid-table Premier League side, isn't? It doesn't rain in Spain either, right?
Then there are the more technical issues that are being focused on after his magical display at Wembley last night. Apparently, in the modern game the better pitches and adjusted rules are helping the Argentine to perform to a higher standard. Have they also mentioned that the pace of the game has rapidly increased, and better, more technical footballers are being brought up very well.
Forbid all the comparisons trying to engage people in thinking that Lionel Messi isn't all that just because of a few minor factors. He is the total footballer, and I've accepted that with open arms. It's a privilege to witness such a magician on a regular basis. Enjoy what Messi has to offer, because we may never see a player like him again!