By Isaac Akugizibwe
The month of July 2021is one of the many that Argentine star man Lionel Messi and his fans may never forget. Messi’s long awaited major triumph on the international level finally came to pass after his side beat Brazil 1-0 in Copa America finals at Maracana intensifying a highly contested debate between his and Cristiano Ronaldo’s fans on who is actually fit for the greatest of all time (GOAT).
Comparing Messi and Ronaldo is one of the most emotional and unending debates on social media and major hangouts worldwide with each side saying their star is the best. This debate which many argue would have most likely been settled at Maracana in 2014 has stretched to twelve years and still running.
Winning the Copa America seems to have given Lionel Messi an edge over Cristiano Ronaldo whose side failed to defend the Euros, his only major international treasure.
The overral concensus from the experts,the fans ,soccer players and coaches is that Messi’s triumph could be his most outright ticket to the throne of the beautiful game which for long has been in custody of Brazilian legend, Edson Arantez Donacemento Pele.
For Ronaldo, many experts still think,he deserves a third place after Pele and Messi hence displacing Argentine Great Diego Maradona.Others still maintain Pele and Maradona for the top two.
“If I were to pick the 5 best players in history, Messi would be in the lead over Pelé, Maradona and Ronaldo.” Jürgen Klopp recently commented.
Beating Brazil at the historic Maracana stadium speaks volumes of Messi and Argentina especially in their contest to revive their Soccer superiority but the 34 year old will need atleast a world cup trophy to dethrone the man many still consider the best ever.
It is the lack of a world cup winners medal that many football fans rate the likes of Ronaldo Nazario Phenomenal and Ronaldinho abit higher than the longest serving competitive duo in world football, Messi and Ronaldo.
It is due to their consistent unrivaled performance that experts and analysts think, Messi and Ronaldo should top the all time best list but due to his collosal achievements in the game during and after his career, displacing Pele remains the only challenge.
Pele won three world cups with the Selecao, a record no football player since the inception of the game has ever matched. His contribution to Santos football club was immeasurable making the club one of the most famous and successful football clubs in world football history to mention a goal tally of over 1000 career goals.
Incredible! It is bad that he played at a time when cameras were limited to black and white photographs and less video surveillance unlike the modern era where every moment can be catpured with ease.
The crown prince might have a plethora of skills that the King himself admire but it will still be hard to convince a layman that a man who never won a world cup is better than the one who won three.
He needs to claim one in 2022 to ease his way to the throne. So should Europe’s Football King Cristiano Ronaldo. This could prove their very last attempt.
Diego Maradona’s exploits in the 80’s and early 1990’s led the last contest for Soccer supremacy by Argentina in South America and World Football attempting to topple Brazil, Germany and Italy yet an army of agile and skilled youth fathered by Diego Maradona in 2010 was thought to be the clique that would help Argentina reclaim,their supremacy.
Xavier Zanneti, Xavier Mascherano, Eva Banega, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Dimaria, Sergio Aguero, Ezekiel Lavezzi among others formed one of the most feared teams in World Football but still failed to impress in the 2010 world cup in South Africa ,lost it late in Brazil in 2014 and almost did nothing in Russia 2018,despite their star man Lionel Messi being at the peak of his career. Does their Copa America victory suggest something for the decade?, Can Messi end his career in style? Does it mean the beginning of the end of the messi-Ronaldo debate?
However,both Messi and Ronaldo still have a chance to redeem the top position on the greatest of all time list should any of them win the 2022 world cup in Quatar.
With high chances that a seventh Ballon d’or prize will soon be added to a list of his collection, Lionel Messi stands more chances of being crowned the greatest of all time compared to Ronaldo should he impress in Quatar.