Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Who's Number One? (Part 1: Leo Messi)

Who is the best player in the world at the moment? It's a question that many football fans will ask, and it can often bring up an interesting debate. However in the past ten years we have had obvious answers to the question of who is the top player in the world, players like Ronaldinho, Zidane and Ronaldo were the easy answers, top players playing at the top of their game.

But now, we've got a much more interesting selection of players to choose between. What I'm wanting to do here is present the arguments for the three players who are, in my opinion, the top three in the world. I'll give a few reasons for each one, let you know who I think is number one, and you can form your own opinions and let me know who you think is the best, or if there is anyone I've missed. I'll split this up into three posts so I can write a substantial amount for each player.

So I'll get started with a certain Argentinian forward I think you may have heard of...

Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona & Argentina)
Date of Birth: 24 June 1987 (age 22)
Place of Birth: Rosario, Argentina
Position: Winger/Striker

Perhaps the most obvious choice when it comes to the world's best players, Lionel Messi has been astounding football supporters and pundits alike ever since he broke into the Barcelona first team in 2004 at the tender age of 17. As with all young Argentinian stars, Messi was constantly touted as "the next Maradona", and no-one has ever deserved that title more. After some memorable performances and goals (almost too many to mention), and being the current holder of the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards, Messi has truly earned his place in this list of the top footballers in the world.

At Barcelona, Messi is in the best team possible to nurture his abilities. He will play as a part of a front 3, often partnered by top players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta. It would be hard to define Messi as having one position, he plays in the centre, he plays out wide, he cuts inside, he comes deep to get the ball, he breaks the offside trap, he does EVERYTHING. Messi can steal the show, as he has done so many times, he can win the game with an outstanding solo performance, but his teamwork is something that is often ignored. He has an unbelievable ability to pick out a pass, and his movement off the ball, making space for team-mates, is phenomenal.

Another of Messi's amazing abilities is his balance. This is one of my favourite things about his game, and it isn't really mentioned much. When you watch Messi running at defenders, no matter how tall or powerful these defenders are, it seems like he can never be knocked over. I remember watching last year's Champions League Final against Manchester United, and the only times Messi was on the ground was after he was fouled. At a height of 5'7", and with a pretty slight figure, the way he can keep his balance under pressure from big defenders is nothing short of a miracle.

The current debate regarding Messi is whether he has now surpassed the ability of Maradona in his prime. Because I have been watching Messi all through his professional career, and Maradona's best years were before my time, I would love to say that Messi is now the superior player. Unfortunately I don't think I can say that... Yet. Maradona is often named as the greatest player of all time, and everything I have seen and heard of him he just seemed like a truly special player. Messi is special too, but he is young. Ask me again in three years and I'm hopeful that I would say yes.

Football fans should watch Leo Messi play as much as possible. For me, he is currently the best player in the world. So enough talk about the genius that is Messi, let's allow a bit of his football to do the talking. Here's a nice compilation of some of his best moments, its truly amazing. Watch it right until the end, the best clip is the last one.

So that's it for Leo Messi, tell me what you think of him, is he better than Maradona? Do you think he is overrated? Leave a comment.

Next time I'll be talking about the man who is carrying England's World Cup 2010 hopes on his shoulders. Watch this space.


Chocolate Rainbow said...

Henry was one of the obvious best in the world in the last ten years wee man **crys into old Henry strip**

Paul Ferretti said...

Hes got nothing on harkins

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