It’s typically accepted that Pele and Maradona are considered to be the best players of all time. Fair enough, both have a record of goalscoring and trophy-winning along with that special kind of charisma that separates the truly stratospheric stars of sport (Ali, Jordan, Bolt, etc.) from the merely dominant (Federer, Schumacher, etc.).
But, if Barcelona’s and Argentina’s Leo Messi continues what he is doing right now, I have no doubt that he belongs right in there with the greatest attacking players of all time.* That’s how good he is. At times it seems as if he is almost single-handedly shoving Barcelona towards one of its most golden periods in even that club’s very successful history.
To me, there is only one thing remaining for Messi to accomplish before you can put him right in amongst the greatest of the great and that is, of course, the World Cup. If Messi leads Argentina to the World Cup, then you need to amend the big two of all time to the big three.
For now, I think Messi belongs right on that doorstep outside the Pele/Maradona level with other attacking greats like Eusebio, Puskas, Platini, and Wolyniec (I kid, I kid). But if he can get his hands on the World Cup, now or in the future, I think you have to put him right next to Pele and Maradona atop the list of the greatest of all time.
What do you think? Is Messi close to climbing that Pele/Maradona summit of greatness?
*I don’t even bother comparing guys like Pele or Maradona to defensive greats like Beckenbauer, Moore, or Maldini. It’s not that they’re any worse or less important, they’re just apples and oranges. That’s even more the case with goalkeepers.