Lets not go through the long and perhaps never ending list of players who can be called the greatest player of all time or one of the greatest players of all time(GPOAT) or sometimes the top 3 players of all time.
Frankly, I think this debate about being the best of all time just sucks. A case could be made about being the best of a particular era, which I also don’t advocate but at least it makes much more sense than determining a single best player of all time.
3 reasons for why this debate sucks for any sport and particularly for soccer (which is a team sport so the whole idea of there being a single best player of the world of all time or any given single time makes no sense):
- There is no set criteria for being great. You think the one who was scored the most is the greatest player of all time? or the one who has won the most trophies? or perhaps someone who has had the greatest impact? or may be the one who had the best leadership qualities?. May be you think the best player of all time should be the one who has sustained a level of excellence and dominance over an extended period of time? and finally, may be you think the best player of all time is the one who needs nobody else to win games except for himself and perhaps this is the only criteria that should be given any weight?. Take your pick. There is just no single way to determine who is the greatest player of all time.
- People always talk about attackers in this debate. Don’t defenders and goalkeepers get any credit? What about midfielders or play makers. What about those slow, hairy and rather grumpy midfield generals who break play up and pace the game for their teams. This is another aspect very few people like to consider. Roberto Carlos was great and so was Ronaldo but most people would just go for Ronaldo in greatest of all time debate.
- There are infinite number of factors for someone having a great career or great reputation. You would need perhaps several Phd’s on it so there is no need nor any justification for someone to pick a handful of factors and based on that, declare someone to be great or not great. Messi is a great left footed player but so is Giggs. Would Messi be able to attack with such venom if he knew he did not have good defenders to back him up or good attacking players to provide him support? Would Ronaldo score with the same frequency if he did not player for Real Madrid or had not played for Manchester United?
It is a big subject that cannot be addressed properly in a single post. The thing I want to achieve through this post is to make people think about success from multiple perspectives rather than from a single point of view which is mostly just the amount of goals a player has scored or the speed at which someone runs.