Lionel Messi is a name that is synonymous with worldwide soccer greatness. We know Tom Brady is the American football GOAT (I’m a Patriots fan). Michael Jordan is the GOAT of basketball. Is Messi the GOAT of soccer?
In my opinion, his incredible skills, soccer IQ, and the impact he’s had on the sport earn him the title of the Greatest of All Time (GOAT).
What makes Messi so great:
- Messi’s soccer IQ and ability to see and anticipate moves on the soccer field.
- The ability to score and attack despite only being 5’7″ with mediocre athletic ability.
- The legacy and impact on the sport of soccer. Many kids look up to him and try to emulate their game after him.
Messi’s career has been nothing short of amazing. He has won numerous individual and team awards, including eight Ballon d’Or titles, four Champions League titles, and ten La Liga titles.
He has also broken countless individual records, including becoming the all-time top scorer for Barcelona and the all-time top scorer in La Liga.
Messi’s ability to score from almost any position on the field, with both his left and right foot, has left defenders and goalkeepers stunned.
His incredible dribbling skills and vision on the field have also earned him the reputation of being one of the most creative and dangerous attacking players in the game.
Now, let’s take a look at why Messi is the GOAT.
Messi’s Impact On My Son
Before we get into the guts of the article and what makes Messi so good, I’d like to just say Messi is near and dear to my heart.
Messi stands at 5’7” which is short by today’s standards.
My son is the smallest on most of his teams. It’s been a touchy subject and he’s pretty sensitive when kids tease him for his height.
I can provide him my words of wisdom and positive encouragement but oftentimes it doesn’t stick (#dadlife).
Messi has been the saving grace because my son can look at Messi playing among the trees and realize that height doesn’t matter.
There are so many other aspects of an individual and athlete that can be an advantage. Smarts, speed, strength, agility, etc. all play a significant part in a player’s ability to succeed on the field.
I hope other youth players can draw inspiration from true professionals like Messi.
What Are Messi’s Achievements?
Messi’s club career has been nothing short of exceptional, having spent most of his entire professional career at Barcelona.
He has won numerous domestic and international titles with the club, including ten La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, and four UEFA Champions League titles.
Messi has also won the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world a record eight times, further cementing his status as one of the greatest soccer players ever.
One of Messi’s most impressive achievements at Barcelona has been his goal-scoring record, having scored over 700 goals in all competitions for the club.
He has also broken numerous records during his time at the club, including becoming the club’s all-time top scorer and the player with the most assists in La Liga history.
More recently, Messi went on to play with Paris St. Germain FC (PSG) for two seasons where he scored 32 goals and assisted on another 34. He also scored 11 goals in 14 appearances for Inter Miami. Impressive to say the least!
Messi’s International Career
These victories were particularly significant for Messi, who had previously been criticized for his lack of success with the national team.
Messi’s performances during these tournaments were exceptional, with the forward scoring crucial goals and providing assists to help Argentina win both competitions.
He was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2021 Copa America and was instrumental in Argentina’s victory in the 2022 World Cup.
Overall, Messi’s achievements on both the club and international level speak for themselves, and his status as one of the greatest players of all time is well-deserved.
Messi’s Soccer Skills
This section will explore some of the key skills that make Messi one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Messi’s dribbling ability is one of his most notable skills. He can weave in and out of defenders with ease, often leaving them in his wake.
His low center of gravity and quick feet allow him to change direction quickly and maintain control of the ball.
According to Messi vs. Ronaldo app, Messi completes an average of 4.56 successful dribbles per game, which is more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues. A ‘successful dribble’ is when a player beats their defender while retaining possession and doesn’t get it stolen.
Messi has a great vision for the game and can pick out his teammates with pinpoint accuracy.
According to TIME, Messi has a passing accuracy of 83.7%, which is higher than Ronaldo’s passing accuracy of 80.5%.
Messi’s ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates is one of the reasons why he has so many assists to his name.
Scoring Ability of Messi
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Messi’s game is his scoring ability. He has scored over 700 goals throughout his career, which is a remarkable achievement.
Messi is a creative finisher and can score from a variety of positions on the field.
He has a great sense of timing and can read the game well, which allows him to be in the right place at the right time.
Messi’s scoring ability is one of the reasons why he has won so many individual awards and helped his teams win so many titles.
Messi’s Impact on Soccer
Influence on Playing Style
Lionel Messi’s influence on soccer is undeniable. His playing style is characterized by his incredible dribbling skills, his ability to create space, and his finishing.
His style of play has inspired a new generation of players who strive to emulate his success.
Messi’s influence on the game is not limited to his playing style. He has also been instrumental in the development of new tactics, strategies, and positions such as the False 9.
Teams now build their entire game plan around stopping Messi, and he has forced coaches to come up with new ways to defend against his unique skill set.
Impact on Teammates and Opponents
Messi is not the loudest person in the locker room but he is still a natural leader and has a rare ability to inspire those around him.
His incredible work ethic and dedication to the game are unmatched, and he sets an example for his teammates both on and off the field. What’s more impressive is that he’s been doing this for decades now.
Opponents, on the other hand, have a different experience playing against Messi. His ability to change the game in an instant is feared by all who face him.
His opponents must constantly be on guard, knowing that at any moment he could break through their defense and score.
Messi vs Other Soccer Legends
Comparison with Maradona
When it comes to comparing Messi with Diego Maradona, it’s a tough call. Both players are Argentinean and have made significant contributions to their national team.
Maradona led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup, while Messi helped his team win in 2022. But, not winning the World Cup was one of the few blemishes on his resume.
Maradona is known for his dribbling skills and ability to score crucial goals, while Messi is known for his speed, agility, and precision.
Both players have a similar playing style, but Messi has a more consistent track record in terms of goal-scoring and assists. He’s also shown more years playing at an extremely high level.
Comparison with Pele
Pele is considered by many to be the greatest football player of all time. He won three World Cups with Brazil and scored over 1,000 goals in his career.
When comparing Messi to Pele, it’s important to note that they played in different eras.
Pele played in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, while Messi played in the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s. The game has evolved significantly since Pele’s time, with players becoming faster, stronger, and more technically advanced.
While Pele was known for his physicality and strength, Messi is known for his speed and agility. Both players have a similar playing style, but Messi has been more consistent in terms of goal-scoring and assists.
Comparison with Ronaldo
This is probably the most debated subject in modern soccer history. Both world-class players have won numerous awards and have broken countless records.
Ronaldo is known for his physicality and power, while Messi is known for creativity and smarts. Ronaldo has a more direct playing style, while Messi is more unpredictable.
When it comes to goal-scoring, Messi has slightly a better record than Ronaldo. Messi has scored more goals in fewer games, and he has also provided more assists. However, Ronaldo has won more Champions League titles and has performed well in big games.
Overall, the comparison between Messi and other football legends is subjective.
Each player has their unique strengths and weaknesses, and it’s difficult to determine who is the best.
However, many knock Ronaldo for his perceived poor attitude towards teammates and coaches. I think this leaves the door open for Messi to walk into GOAT status.
Messi’s Records and Awards
- Ballon d’Or award eight times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021, and 2023)
- FIFA World Player of the Year award seven times
- Golden Foot award six times (2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2021)
- UEFA Best Player in Europe award three times (2011, 2015, and 2019)
Messi’s success is not only limited to individual awards, he has also led his teams to numerous victories. Here are some notable team accolades…
- Won UEFA Champions League four times with Barcelona (2006, 2009, 2011, and 2015)
- Won La Liga titles ten times with Barcelona
- Won the Copa del Rey seven times with Barcelona
- Won the Copa America in 2021 with Argentina
- Won the FIFA World Cup in 2022 with Argentina
Messi Coming to MLS
On June 7, 2023, Messi decided to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami in the Major League Soccer (MLS). This announcement sent shockwaves across the U.S. and the world.
Messi’s move to MLS is a significant development for the league, which has been steadily gaining popularity over the years.
The Argentine superstar’s arrival is expected to attract more fans and generate more interest in the league, both in the United States and around the world.
Already, ticket sales for Inter Miami home games went up from around $25 to over $400!
The decision to join Inter Miami also marks a new chapter in Messi’s career. After spending most of his career at Barcelona, where he won numerous titles and awards, he moved to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2021. However, he has now decided to move to the United States and continue his career in MLS.
Messi’s move to Inter Miami is a big win for the club, which was founded by David Beckham in 2018. The former England captain has been working hard to build a competitive team, and the addition of Messi will undoubtedly help him achieve that goal.
No offense to the rest of the MLS stars, but the game has been waiting on a superstar for a long time. And, with Messi coming to the U.S., I hope it brings in more European players into MLS teams.