So I was watching the dazzling Real Madrid wipe away the stars of Juventus easily on Saturday night, and my friend was eulogising about Cristiano Ronaldo and giving me an earful of why Lionel Messi sucks.
Ronaldo scored his 104th and 105th Champions League goals keeping him on top of the all time leading scorers charts and completing a sensational season for him.
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However, for me Messi is still one of the most gifted soccer players in the world, so I wanted to explore his rational a little more and wanted to know if Messi really is overrated or not.
The conversation that I had with my friend during the course of the Champions League final was something like this:
My friend: It is well documented that Messi was given growth hormones when he was younger, but his lack of physical strength means that he can not be the all-round player like Ronaldo, who often scores with his head and physical prowess.
Me: In my mind, this isn’t so important as what Messi lacks in strength he makes up in balance, and ability to move between players easily, as well as a superior passing ability.
Also, I don’t think he’s too bad at headers :
My friend: If you watch Messi for a longer period of time you will see that the range of tricks that he has is fairly limited and usually boils down to using his shoulders, and quick feet to feint a move and beat a defender.
Me: Well, if this is the case, then he does this extremely well, but in my mind he also has a great passing range, amazing touch, shooting ability and his quick feet make up for any lack of ‘show-pony’ tricks that Ronaldo may have.
If you have any doubt in his skills then check out this video.
As the first comment says:
"The only way to stop Messi is to pause the video!!!"
My friend: With the slightest touch Messi will fall on the floor. He might not necessarily roll around on the floor, wincing in pain, but could definitely get a place on the Olympic Diving team.
Me: I do agree that Messi goes down too easy, but that is just a sign of the modern game and some players will even look at this as a skill to develop. Personally, I’m not a fan of this but accept that this is just part of the modern game.
My friend: If I played in a team with the likes of Fabregas, Iniesta and Xavi, then I’d be scoring a hatful of goals as well. If you look at his record with Argentina you’ll see that he is nowhere near the player that he is with Barcelona.
Me: Well, he hasn’t done too badly and is Argentina’s leading goalscorer of all time. I will admit that on international duty he never reached the heights of domestic or European glory, but I think that if you play the right system Messi would win trophies with any team.
My friend: OK, he’s great in La Liga, especially when he is playing against some of the smaller clubs and can walk in 5 goals in an evening in front of his adoring fans at the Nou Camp. But, can you imagine him playing in the Premier League and how he’d get on against a team like Hull City on a dark, dismal night in November?
Me: I don’t think that the ability to survive the cold makes you a great player!!! Seriously though, if you look in La Liga, there are plenty of games where you have to play mid-winter in poor conditions, miles away from your home. I used to coach in Spain and I know how cold it can get, in the North particularly. I’ve also seen Messi play in one of these so-called ‘unfancied’ games and he was by far the best player on the pitch.
My friend: He’s like one of those kids at school who hogs the ball and takes too many touches. That’s the kind of player that you hate playing with as you know he’ll never pass it to you!
Me: Seriously??? For me he is one of the most unselfish stars out there and is always working for the team, closing down and tracking back when needed. Anyway, sometimes it’s good to be selfish, especially when you have the talent like Messi. I’d have him in my 5 a side team for sure!!!
My friend: Look at Ronaldo. He can play on either foot, equally as well, which means he’s dangerous wherever he is on the pitch and can shoot from either side. Messi’s only got a left foot so is more obvious what he’s going to do and it’s a lot easier for defenders to control him.
Me: To be honest his left foot is so good, why bother with the other one!!! Anyway, it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else if he started to use his right foot as well would it, that would kinda be cheating!!!
My friend: I rarely see Messi taking free kicks for Argentina or Barca, and he seems to rarely score from a free kick, whereas you can be sure that Ronaldo is going to be the first person stepping up to take a free kick for Madrid or Portugal and most of the time, he’s gonna hit the target.
Me: Overall, there are more talented free kick takers in the Barca team than Messi, but when he gets a chance he puts them away.
Maybe he doesn’t have the power that Ronaldo does but he’s sure got accuracy.
Ok, so I’m going to cut the conversation short as my friend just kept banging on about it and it was starting to annoy me.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Ronaldo is an awesome soccer player as well, but you just can not call Messi overrate as his records speak for themselves:
…. I rest my case….
OK, I’m clearly a fan of Messi, but would love to know what you think.
It’s been Ronaldo’s year this year, but overall, do you think Messi deserves his place in the Hall of Fame, or do you think he sucks!
Let us know what you think in the comments below...