The debate of Ronaldo or Messi seems to have gone on for ever. With many people favouring Messi over Ronaldo, but would Messi be just as good or better at another club? Does the fact he is surrounded by players such as Xavi and Iniesta boost his rating?
A sportsman is defined by what he achieves. One of the best sportsmen the world has ever seen is Michael Jordan. He carried a whole team on his own, he single-handedly lead the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA titles. This made me think, could Lionel Messi, the widely acclaimed ‘Worlds Best Player Ever’, have done the same?
It is safe to say he has scored the majority of Barcelona’s goals over the last few years, but could Villa or Ibrahimovic, before he left, have scored the same number of goals. If the system suited them, then yes. In a Barcelona team filled with stars these two undoubtedly quality strikers would (and in the case of Villa could) score just as many goals as Messi. The problem for Villa is injury, now he has been injured for a year he will find it hard to overtake Messi as the striker and will be forced to play out wide where there are fewer goal scoring opportunities. In the case of Ibrahimovic the style of play didn’t suit. Despite having sublime touch and skill Ibrahimovic thrives upon crosses and big balls up to him, Barcelona refuse to play that style. However if they did, I believe he would have scored many a goal. With wingers with the quality they had at the time and midfielders to play balls up or through to him he could have been a real success.
This is why I think Messi is blessed to be born into a team with Xavi and Iniesta, who mean that Barcelona almost have to play a passing game which Messi flourishes in and with Messi being the striker in this passing game is always likely to score goals. However this is also why, in my opinion, if any striker played for Barcelona they would score just as many goals. Maybe Messi scores a superb amount of goals because he is an abnormally good finisher in a team that creates a lot of chances for him?
However it can’t be argued that he does score some excellent, breath-taking and sometimes mind-boggling solo goals, creating the argument that he doesn’t rely on the stars around him. Messi has undoubtedly got great dribbling ability which allows him to score some amazing goals. This would surely show less of a reliance upon Xavi and Iniesta?
It is almost impossible to say if Messi would be as good as he is perceived to be at any team. The only way we could find out is if he moved away from Barcelona, and I can’t see that happening anytime soon. One thing is for sure, he is either a striker with an excellent goal scoring record, or a magician who does unspeakable things with a football that will never be replicated.
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