Pele is not on drugs, that I am sure of. But you wouldn’t know it judging by what comes out of his now notoriously controversial mouth.
Pele, in India for a promotion tour of some sorts, affirmed to the attendees that Messi was the best player of the last 10 years. He didn’t just stop there as he declared Messi as the best player of last year as well.
Let’s not even try to list the number of players who have been ranked higher than Messi in the last ten years. Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the only player alive on this planet who hasn’t just laid down and die in front of the constant Messi greatness onslaught. Former players such as Pele himself, should at least acknowledge the fact that Ronaldo has hung in there and has pushed Messi to the point of a knee injury this season.
He has worked and worked and worked some more on every aspect of his game to somehow stay in the game with Lionel Messi. In many respects, he has surpassed Lionel Messi many times especially in the last few seasons.
Considering the volatility of the squad and the system Ronaldo has to deal with year after year at Real Madrid, how can anyone rank Messi over Ronaldo. In a fair comparison, both would come out as equals of each other.
In terms of what Ronaldo had and what he made of it, Messi doesn’t even come close.
But let’s stick to Pele’s case here. Here are the top five reasons why Pele is definitely wrong in this interpretation of who’s the best player on the planet at the moment:
- Pele has an obvious bias for players that come from South America. I don’t know what it is, but he seems to exaggerate the talents of his native countrymen to such an extent that it almost becomes absurd.
One day, Neymar is the best player in the world for Pele. A week later, Messi becomes the best in his eyes.
This is not the first time Pele has said something totally out of this world as some seven years ago, he ranked Kaka above Messi and Ronaldo when the fact was that Kaka was just a tiny obstacle in the way of rapidly improving Messi and Ronaldo.
Kaka himself has admitted to being the lucky one who got one Ballon D’or for himself before Messi and Ronaldo reached their respective peaks and left every other player competing for the third spot year after year.
- Pele’s assertion on Messi being the current best is also not accurate. What did Messi do last year that was so excitingly different to what he has done all his career, even when he was beaten to the number one spot by Ronaldo on several occasions.
Messi is a great player but Barcelona is a greater team. Messi’s highlight of the previous year was his performance against Bayern Munich. Let’s analyze that a bit.
The performance was world class, no doubt. But was Messi’s performance really that stellar?
Not quite so. Back in early 2000’s. Ronaldo scored a hat trick against Manchester United when Real Madrid desperately needed away goals to secure the tie, at Old Trafford. Now, that was something amazing and infact was called, deservingly, one of the greatest away games by any striker in history.
Messi,as I have pointed out previously as well, is a first-rate player but he always gives his best at Barcelona’s home ground, Camp Nou. Why is that? Even with all the accolades, why can’t Messi produce something away from home.
And Even in the performance against Bayern Munich, Messi scored his classy goals when the scoreline was a safe 0-0. It was in the later stages of the game when players usually start to make mistakes due to exhaustion and loss of focus.
Messi’s first goal was a relatively sharp finish to the near post of Neuer, who astonishingly was beaten. At near post, that is not acceptable for a goalkeeper who is playing in the Champions League. I know Messi can hit some crackers on the far as well but at least he has to work for those. Neuer should have covered his near post first.
The second was an extremely well taken goal with the obvious flaws, again. Bayern Munich players were now in a state of stagnation. Messi received a penetrating through ball which left Messi with two things. First beat one single defender inside the penalty area on the run and then go past Neuer. Not easy by any means.
But Barcelona at home, leading 1-0 and with Bayern Munich out of energy, was that really a goal that no one else could have scored? Mind you, the chip shot, though looked exquisite, was unnecessary as Messi could have finished with his left with a curl shot to the far post. Moving on.
Why can’t Messi score groundbreaking goals in cup finals and the like. Apologies to Messi, but when you want to mark yourself as amongst the greatest of all times, then you have to score compelling goals at the highest levels of world football.
Messi will win Ballon D’or come February but Ballon D’or, as seen in the last decade or so, is awarded to the player who has won the most trophies, not necessarily to the player who was the best individually.
That seems to be ridiculously unfair to players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Francesco Totti, who both play for clubs considerably weaker than the club Messi has always played for. So the Ballon D’or, in it’s current form, is bemusing to say the least.
- Ronaldo was constantly hampered by injuries to key players in Real Madrid squad for the whole of last season. Couple that with an injury to the only pure striker, Benzema, and you can start to comprehend the obstacles Ronaldo had to overcome to rack up any sort of goal tally for Real Madrid.
How can Messi’s achievements be above those of Ronaldo’s if Ballon D’or or the title for the best player in the world is based on individuals. Fine, Barcelona definitely deserves a team Ballon D’or which would make more sense and perhaps FIFA should abolish an individual award for team sport and introduce a team Ballon D’or instead.
- Were it not for some awful dip in form of Real Madrid midway through the season last year, Barcelona would not have been celebrating another La Liga title and Messi’s claim, even in this flawed system on individual awards for team sports, would have been even weaker.
Without going into details, Real Madrid went from being in the lead by 6 or 7 points, to behind Barcelona by four points in a matter of weeks because of poor results and a resurgent Barcelona.
- Same could be said about Messi’s Champions League and Copa Del Rey triumphs. They could all have been different had Real Madrid’s brotherly neighbours not knocked them out of Copa Del Rey and had a Real Madrid youth, Alvaro Morata, not sent Real Madrid packing with vital goals in both legs in the Champions League semi-finals.
Barcelona might still have won all those trophies but it would have been at least against a worthy opponent. Athletic Bilbao and a Juventus without peak Pogba, hardly count as elite teams.
Pele would do well to actually follow football more in order to make sensible comments about the state of European football.
Messi might be masterful in his view but there is plenty Ronaldo has done that proves otherwise.