I have delayed commenting on it but it now seems that I can no longer avoid writing about Lionel Messi's ridiculous form of late. The 22-year-old Argentine hit in his fourth hat-trick of 2010 as his four goal haul sank Arsenal's Champions Leagues dreams. The performance left football fans salivating at his display which leaves no doubt that he is the greatest football player in the world right now. In my previous post I stated that football had adopted the role of a modern day religion. If so, Lionel Messi would be the latest prophet to be given a divine footballing gift.
It seems an almost futile task to attempt to put into words Messi's quality. Over the last two seasons Messi has played 79 games in La Liga and the Champions League, scoring a staggering 66 times. The truth is, however, that goals will never come close to showing just how good the 5ft 7” forward is.
It cannot be debated that he is the best player on the planet. Rooney or Ronaldo may score goals but neither does it with the ease and grace of the Barcelona striker. Nor do they look as menacing with the ball at their feet. Arsene Wenger commented after last night's game that Lionel Messi was the best player in the world by some distance calling him “unstoppable”. Messi appears to be almost inhuman in his current form and if he can carry it to South Africa this June then the odds of 8/1 for Argentina to lift the trophy, and Messi to top-score in the tournament at 11/1, both look extremely tempting.
Messi must be considered more than just currently the best player in the world though. At the age of 22 he seems certain to go on and become one of, if not the, greatest players the world will ever have the joy of watching. His touch, ball control, dribbling, skill, agility, pace, technique, flair, finesse and finishing are unreal. Watching both of his performances against Arsenal have left spectators open mouthed at his ability to glide past players with apparent ease and continuously torment defenders and he recreates this week -in-week-out. Like past icons, such as Pele, Best, Maradona and Zidane, Messi has the ability to do the unthinkable on a regular basis.
Whenever he receives the ball there is an air of expectation, an expectation of brilliance, and he rarely disappoints. Like the past greats Messi has the ability to manipulate the ball in ways 99% of footballers could only dream of. Defenders lunge in desperation to get a piece of ball or man and yet he evades all challengers and then consistently executes the outrages and audacious final ball or shot. There is no footballer anywhere, nor has there been for some time, that strikes the level of fear into an opposition as Messi does.
As long as Messi remains healthy and motivated he can go on to acquire countless amounts of sliver-ware and receive endless plaudits. One would also assume that Barcelona is the place for him to do so. There would be no need for Messi to leave the Catalan club. He is playing alongside other world-class players and they play a style of football that suits him perfectly. Barcelona won all 5 trophies they competed in last season (League, Cup, Champions League, World Club Challenge and Super Cup) and it makes perfect sense for the best player in the world to play at the best club. As such Messi will be at the club, which he joined at the tender age of 11, for the foreseeable future.
Messi is undoubtedly the most devastating footballer of his generation, not only with his goal scoring record but with his ability to produce moments of inspiration, astonishment and pure magic whenever he touches the ball... and he is only 22. Superlatives cannot do the little Argentine justice, no matter how great your vocabulary. He is quite simply unstoppable, as close to a perfect player as it seems possible to conceive.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...