Premature Speculation: Just how good is Lionel Messi?

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by comme, Apr 12, 2010.

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  1. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    I don't think Rooney has been castigated. Who has castigated him? It's just that his injury has left him in the shadows slightly.

    Ronaldo has IMO, actually elevated his own position this year. He has proven himself in another league and has dealt extremely well with the injuries he has faced.

    Kaka has not done anything in the last 3 years to merit being talked about alongside these three. Has been poor at Madrid (when he has played) and was nothing that special for Milan earlier. His nationality is the only thing that gets him mentioned in the same breath as the best.
  2. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member+

    Sep 17, 2009
    FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih
    The Brazilian league at Pele's time was one of the best in the world.
  3. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member+

    Sep 17, 2009
    FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih
    That's why I'm not sure .... has Messi already surpassed Ronaldo's peak?
    What do others think?

    Numbers are in Messi's favor.
  4. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    Which Ronaldo are you talking about?

    I believe that Harry Boulton and Dr. Know are talking about Cristiano, while you are talking about the Brazilian Ronaldo.
  5. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member+

    Sep 17, 2009
    FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih
    The Brazilian Ronaldo.

    His numbers:
    96-97 49GP 47G
    97-98 47GP 34G
  6. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member+

    Dec 5, 2005
    I'm talking about CRonaldo.
  7. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member+

    Sep 17, 2009
    FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih
    Still my question stands. :D

    But I'l change my last statement to numbers are pretty similar.
  8. GranCanMan

    GranCanMan Member

    Jan 12, 2007
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:

    Ronaldo has maintained an impressive level of delivery though. He was our top scorer in his final season, scoring one in every two. This season he's scored 25 in 28. Goals are, admittedly, ony a fraction of what either bring to their respective sides, mind. Saturdays game illustrated the difference between the two, for me. Ronaldo was desperately trying to win the game himself, mainly because of the inability of his team mates to get a foothold in the game, where as Messi made the game look insultingly easy, always going for the easy pass, and constantly moving around to try and find time and space.

    He's certainly a more instinctive, team orientated player than Ronaldo. He's always looking to find another team mate, in order to play the quick pass and create the space, where as Ronaldo tries to run into the space himself, through sheer pace, strength and individual skill.

    It's not that he's been castigated as such, but some people seem to point to Messi's ther-wordly form and use this to dismiss him in the same breath. It riles me that one players form is used to dismiss another, rather than simply enjoying the fact that both are enjoying fine seasons. The finest example of this was the other night when Barcelona so stylishly dispatched Arsenal in the CL. Jim Beglins observation that "Rooney has so much help from Nani and Valencia, where as Messi has to do everything himself for Barca" left me open mouthed and agast that someone so stupid could get paid so handsomely for his thoughts on live TV. Albeit, who really listens to Jim Beglin.......... :confused:
  9. Breadman

    Breadman New Member

    Apr 9, 2010

    Well Pele's national team exploits made up or his lack of European league play, but I see your point. No, it isn't ALL about playing in the big three but you must admit is should play a considerable role when determining player rankings. I have been very impressed by Suarez this year, but I was also impressed by huntelaar(not a slight on his talent). The question is how does this talent translate to the bigger leagues. We'll find out soon enough when he eventually moves to one of them. Until than the comparison seems pretty naive don't you think?
  10. Breadman

    Breadman New Member

    Apr 9, 2010

    I agree with people overlooking other players great seasons because of Messi's, but at the same time I can understand it given the consistent dominating performances. The kid is dominating both facets of the game in La Liga leading the league in goals and assists, is the front runner for the golden boot, is top champions league scorer, took apart a studdgart with out the aid of his teams best play CM's, the arsenal game without Iniesta or Ibra, or their two best defenders. Just really unbelievable stuff.

    And if you think Messi's team wouldn't miss him as much as Man U misses rooney, or madrid kaka and ronaldo than I doubt you've been watching barca games this season. Cause the truth is this season Barca has been extremely dependent on him to win them games. More so than Man U is of Rooney, or Real is of Ronaldo.
  11. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member+

    Dec 5, 2005
    I wouldn't necessarilly say more than ManUtd is of Rooney but since January when Ibra's form dropped greatly till very recently Barcelona were relying heavily on Messi. He was scoring most of their goals with and without Xavi on the field.
  12. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ajax has a +77 goal difference in 31 Eredivisie matches and based on their play in Europe, they aren't even that good. In the Europa League Suarez scored just twice in 8 games, one of which was a PK.

    I think that says it all.
  13. Breadman

    Breadman New Member

    Apr 9, 2010
    Well the Rooney, Messi debate is a fair argument. I just think that given Ibra's drop in form and Messi's goal/assist tally, and dominating performances since than to keep his team level with madrid and advancing in Europe, I think he edges Rooney in that department.
  14. OrlandoEngelaar

    Jul 19, 2008
    He can be the greatest if he carries his form throughout the rest of his career.. He plays like he's from the 1950's. Receive----->Dribble--->Sprint--->Stop--->Hold--->Feint--->Nutmeg--->Dribble---->Shoot---->GOAL!
  15. he so scrumptiouz

    Jun 1, 2006
    we had some trouble finding some form, but we're firing on all cilinders now after the juventus debacle. our goal difference is mostly thanks to our 2010 form.

    you have a case of saying it's easier to score in the eredivisie than 'bigger competitions' but if you compare us to the rest of the competition we're in another league of our own, no pun intended. we have the least goals conceded and have about twice the amount of goals scored compared to our closest competitor.
    1 person likes this.
  16. dl4060

    dl4060 New Member

    Jun 5, 2008
    I agree with you, that it is not a pushover league, but I don't think many of those folks help your point. Most of those players were in the Dutch league 10(or more) years ago. It is not the same league it used to be.
  17. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    You seem to have been a little swept up by the hype, comme. ;)

    I don't agree with that bit about Ronaldinho at all. He was both an orchestrator and big game player and did audacious things at key moments for Barcelona.

    I think Messi is a nailed-on all-timer, without a doubt, and he himself is now playing at a level that says breaking top ten or even top five is on the horizon if he keeps it up - but to break top 2... he has to do far more at International level than he has. This World Cup, should he take it on and over like he did the YWC, will catapult him into another realm in any such discussion as thiis, but the argument goes that for the NT he doesn't have Xavi or Iniesta and the side isn't set up with only him in mind.

    If he can overcome these obstacles, he'll be held in a different esteem to how he is now, where, although the majority acknowledge this guy as a dead cert' all-timer, there's still questions asked about the disparity in performance level for club and country.

    What players like Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney have proven, however, is that if you're good enough, a near 1:1 GPGR is possible. The WC could be a cornerstone for at least two of them to get over on the other one.

    Just to add... Messi is not playing at Maradona's level. To do that, he'd have to become the chief orchestrator at Barca, which is a job Xavi is quietly going about becoming an all-timer doing.


    Rooney is the most relied upon player in the world this season, and his club have collapsed without him. Absolutely collapsed. Everyone knew it and it marked the end of the CL run and perhaps the PL title as well, just as expected.

    Messi is depended on more by Barca this year than last, but there's more to them than him and they can still absolutely dominate any opposition without him. Man Utd can't.
  18. Utd16

    Utd16 Member

    May 24, 2008
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Korea Republic
    Considering he is only 22 by the time he is 30 he will be the best player ever to play the beautiful game of football.
  19. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    He hasn't done anything to date that outmatches Pele, and if he maintained his current standard for 8 more years, he still wouldn't. In other words, he'd have to do more to match the bar Pele set.

    He's also got to do more at NT level to match Maradona.

    He's more on course to match Cruyff at the moment over the others....
  20. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member+

    Dec 5, 2005
    And Messi doesn't do this? Let's not forget that Ronaldinho did very little in the 06' CL final. Messi has easily surpassed him when it comes to CL performances. The fact that at 22 he's already Barca's highest scorer in the competition is proof of that.

    Why does it have to be this World Cup? He's only 22.

    The Xavi, Iniesta argument is so cliched, flawed, and has been debunked so many times that it's not even worth mentioning for people who actually watch him closely for both club and country.

    Why are we mentioning Rooney in the same breath as Messi? Rooney is having a great year however he'd have to reproduce exactly what he's done this year, next year to be compared to Messi.

    And yet Messi has more assists than Xavi this season. Messi's job isn't to be the main orchestrator at Barca so why would you ask him to be?
  21. Ecclesiastes2003

    May 30, 2003
    Agreed. I don't think he's even at Ronaldinho's level when he was peaking (who btw, speaking of the national team, already has a World Cup under his belt, and scored a crucial goal against England in that tournament, all of this at age 22). So at this point it is premature speculation.
  22. Tribune

    Tribune Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Ok, my turn now.

    To answer the concerns expressed above : This is not about the standard of Eredivisie and focusing on it is flawed. Even if Eredivisie was the best league in the world, it would still not matter because Suarez has not done anything outside of it.
    No player has ever entered the top 20 ever based only on domestic form. The all-timers have performed with excellence at least on one other stage beside their league, either at national team level, or in international club competitions.
    Messi has been brilliant in La Liga, but he also added similar sets of performances in the CL. None of the players you mentioned have done that to a similar extent. The closer one is C.Ronaldo and he is still behind Messi.

    Comme is correct. You know very well that I'm a fanatical enemy of hype, yet I concur.
    Here's the catch : Ronaldinho was all you said about him. But, at the same time, Ronaldinho had patches of inconsistency during seasons, which were not short. Ronaldinho's toolset of skills was mindboggling, yet it was totally irritating to see him taking a sabatical in the middle of the season. Here lies the reason why some people (you know who :p) advocated for Lampard to receive the individual award. That is not the case with Messi.
    Skillwise, Ronaldinho was superior in dead ball plays, long range shots and "orchestrating" abilities (vision, short range passing, long range passing, etc). So what Messi has to be better ? Well, he is more prolific, first and foremost. This does not need any explanation, as it is obvious. Messi has also a better dynamic than Ronaldinho. And, finally, Messi is a better dribbler. Sure, Ronaldinho may seem to have more tricks up his sleeve, but Messi is a better "steerer" of the ball and, just as important, is much more willing than Ronaldinho to run at the defenders. The runs which Messi does game after game, Ronaldinho did not do, neither with the same aplomb, nor the same frequency.
    I think you are too caught with several moments of Ronaldinho, like the goals against Milan or Chelsea (admittingly, Messi does not have any such moment against teams of similar defensive strength) and ignore the bigger picture.

    Short answer : yes. A surprising statement, but I will explain. How could that be possible if prime Ronaldo is compared with Pele & Maradona ? Should that mean that Messi should be compared with them as well ? What Messi has over Ronaldo at his best ?
    One word : clutch.
    Here is the thing. In a former debate with Dark Savante, I remarked that when prime Ronaldo is discussed, wishful thinking plays a major part. In other words, the comparison is born not just from what Ronaldo had done, but also from what he could have done. That is worth keeping in mind.
    On the other hand, Ronaldo's style of football during 1996-1998 was absolutely exhilarating, more than Messi's. If we compare two video compilations of both players, I would lean more towards Ronaldo. I will have to dig up some old comments about Ronaldo's brand of football in order to make the point. About 2 years ago I wrote a long overview of Ronaldo in answer to a question about his pre-injury form and I will quote myself :

    "Ronaldo was implementing at the time a style of fotball which was rarely seen in the history of football. The player who battles entire defenses on his own and beats them singlehandedly, cutting through hordes of opposing players as if they weren't there. It's a very explosive style and it's so rare because it requires a package of abilities which very few players posess, each honed to perfection : exquisite dribbling skills, in order to beat defenses in tight confines and players appearing in front of you at full speed, speed in order to outrun defenders closing down of you, strength in order to resist charges." It was a long post, but this is the main idea.

    So, after saying so many nice things about Ronaldo, what was wrong with him in order to put Messi above ? Well, Ronaldo did all that, but only against the regular sides in the league. He has not done it against his peers. When the decisive push came, in the most crucial games of the season, deciding the title, against Real Madrid and Juventus Torino, Ronaldo was quite dissapointing. In 4 games, he had 1 goal from a penalty which he did not earn himself (Figo earned it) against Real, one assist for Djorkaef vs Juve and the infamous denied penalty. It's not a bad return, but I expect much more from a player touted as the equal of Pele & Maradona. Until Ronaldo had demolished his peers, the comparison with Pele/Maradona is just "wishful thinking". He had to prove that his so impressive style of football, which I just described - and earned him so many plaudits from Dark Savante :p - functioned also against the best teams in the world, in order for that style to place him on par with Pele & Maradona and above a Di Stefano or Cruyff. As of 1998, he had not done it yet and we will never know "if".

    Messi on the other hand had been much more clutch than Ronaldo was for his clubs. There has been a plethora of games which were decisived for Barca's fortunes and Messi delivered more than Ronaldo did. That's why Messi should rank higher, although, if you just watch them both, Ronaldo would have an edge.
    carlito86 and argentine soccer fan repped this.
  23. Ecclesiastes2003

    May 30, 2003
    True this isn't about the Eredivisie, I was not focusing on it, simply responding to another poster trying to make the case that it isn't as disgustingly horrible as he makes it out to be. But I've said my piece about that, the important thing that people miss is that I also said that the European Golden Shoe factors in the relative strength of each league, so it's not like the inferiority of the Dutch league is lost on UEFA. As to Ronaldo not being clutch. Most people put country over club, and Ronaldo was much more clutch for his country than Messi, or do you not consider scoring 15 total goals in World Cups and in 2002 scoring his team's only two goals in the biggest game against Germany with all the world watching to be clutch enough? You can't get more clutch than scoring in the World Cup. Admittedly Messi has a lot of time to do that, but his form with the senior national team is nowhere near Ronaldo's. Like I said at Messi's age even Ronaldinho won a World Cup and scored a crucial goal in the knock-out rounds against the country that invented the game. Messi has a lot to do (especially with his country) before he can be considered amongst the game's historical legends.
  24. schafer

    schafer Member+

    Mar 12, 2004
    Surely the relative strength of the teams they play/played on deserves treatment here, no? Were Ronaldo's PSV, Barca and Inter as so thoroughly skilled and well-coached as Messi's Barca?

    This is an honest question as Ronaldo's peak came before I started following the sport, but I've never heard any of the teams he played on spoken about as glowingly as people speak of this Barca side, with some calling them the best club side in years. In fact all that usually bears mentioning about Ronaldo's teams is the man himself.

    I'm not sure 4 games is the best barometer of a player's 'clutch' ability either, particularly in light of Ronaldo's WC performance in 2002 after his physical decline. Surely he played in more than 4 important games before his injuries? You could point to 4 crucial games that Messi has played in (consecutive CL semifinals against Manchester United and Chelsea, for example) where his statistical contribution was less than Ronaldo's in the 4 games you've highlighted.
  25. Lamps>Gerrard

    Lamps>Gerrard Member

    Feb 15, 2009
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It would not be wise take those 4 games (the ones against ManPoo and Chelsea) as a measure of how good Messi is, very unwise indeed.

    I don't see how anyone could say Messi is better than the real Ronaldo right now. In a couple of years, maybe, but Ronaldo was a legend at both club and International level and that will forever seperate him from a lot of other "greats".

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