When it comes to finding out who is the greatest player in the world there is always a lot of debate. The likes of Pele, Maradonna, Zidane, Luiz Ronaldo, Garrincha, Puskas, Eusebio all come up. Less than 5 years ago, the greatest player in the history of football depended on whom you asked.
Lionel Messi (after watching hours and hours of his video footage for Barcelona and Argentina) has ended that debate. No player in the history of football has scored so many goals in such less time against such good teams.
Before Messi football had changed. The English style of football started to dominate the world of football. 5 years ago it was thought that the times when one player would beat 3 or 4 players and score a goal was gone. It could no longer be done in the modern game with so much speed and so much physicality to it. Not to mention a faster style of play in Europe because of the way the grass is cut and watered.
Then along came Lionel Messi. He basically defied everything experts believed to be true about football. He was short and had a slim frame. On top of that he had his growth hormone problem. Players like Ronaldo, Rooney, Ronaldinho and Henry dominated the world of football. All these players were extremely gifted physically and used their superior training and conditioning to get ahead of the competition.
In the case of Messi, despite everything seem to be against him, he basically wiped out all competition. The amount of goals he has scored in the past year (91 I think), against the teams he has scored throughout the whole year and in the sort of matches that he has scored all year, is just UN-BELIEVE-ABLE.
It has not been done before and probably will never be done again with the modern football being more about team play rather than individual play.
I still remember Capello (when he was the Real Madrid coach) saying that the times of touch football are gone, now it is about passing, getting into positions and remembering the plays in training. I also remember people saying that to be good at football you need to be strong, tall, wide and be extremely fast.
Of all the things mentioned above the only thing Messi has is speed. He has got loads of speed, probably more than anyone else in the history of sports. No one comes close to him when it comes to dribbling between players or running at them or running away from them. Not Ronaldo, not Ronaldo, not Pele, not Maradonna. Maradonna never came close to scoring goals of the quality of Messi and that too with such consistency.
The discussion of who is the greatest player of all time should only have one answer now. That is Lionel Messi. Even if some people (out of ignorance) debate the fact that Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldo or any other player could come close to Messi in terms of scoring goals against the opposition, I think no one can argue the fact that Messi sets up goals and also helps out in defense more than any other player in the history of football.