Its been a couple of weeks since the news of Messi’s alleged tax fraud came out, all the papers with the blazing headline, “WORLD’S BEST FOOTBALL COMMITS TAX FRAUD” or something along these lines. This got me thinking about whether Messi or Ronaldo have a case for being called the best footballers of these generations, or in the history of football.
Lionel Messi has been widely proclaimed as the world’s best modern footballer. Well, there is certainly a case for him to be called that, especially since the broke Ger ‘Der Bomber’ Muller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year by scoring an astonishing 91 goals, an incredible feat.
Cristiano Ronaldo too has propelled himself into another dimension by going to Real Madrid, become one of the most feared wingers of the world, with bags of tricks in his repertoire. His scoring record too has been incredible, with 201 goals in 199 appearances for Madrid, even though his primary position is that of a left winger (Yes, I know that’s a line that most Ronaldo fans tend to say, but they do have a point).
Coming back to the point, who really is the best footballer? For me it none of those two. The best footballer should be that player who stands above his peers in all aspects of the game, let it be attacking or defending. Ask Messi to play instead of Pique or Puyol, and you are guaranteed to concede plentiful goals. Ask Ronaldo to play in central midfield, and you are depriving him the use of his express pace, which totally kills his game.
Therefore it stands to reason that anyone who should have a chance to be considered as the best modern footballer should be a midfielder. A midfielder is the most integral part of the team, linking defence and attack, supporting both of them. And this generation has thrown up some wonderful midfielders too, the best of them being Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andrea Pirlo and Xavi. All these three are great figureheads of the game for their tireless work in the field, particularly Schweinsteiger, working their socks off to win the ball back. Also, they are famed for their dead ball speciality and their thirty yard rockets.
These midfielders are certainly the best that there are right now, performing admirably for their countries. However again, like before ask Pirlo to play as a striker and you will have the slowest striker in the world. Similarly with Schweinsteiger and Xavi, playing them out of midfield won’t do them good, or their team good.
Similarly the best defenders like Thiago Silva and Vidic too have a case, and I can go on and on. And likewise with Neuer, Hart and Casillas. So the point that I am trying to make here is that no one in this world has the sole right to call himself the best modern footballer. They are all the best in their respective positions, and you certainly not compare a left back like Ashley Cole, with Robin Van Persie. That would be like comparing Manchester United and the Indian cricket team. So call Leo Messi the best centre forward that there is now, but comparing him to someone like Yaya Toure would be injustice, not only to Messi, but to Toure too, who are both great players in their own right.
Therefore, there just isn’t any basis to call Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo the best modern players, since like them there are plenty others who are the best in whatever they do.