Does Lionel Messi deserve to be considered one of the best three footballers on the planet…
Lionel Messi is a wonderful footballer, who is without a doubt among the best players to ever play the beautiful game. He is also universally considered – and rightly so – one of the two best stars currently playing the game, along with Cristiano Ronaldo.
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But to put this all into context, let’s backtrack to the 13th July 2014, the World Cup final in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro – an embarrassed Messi shakes hands with FIFA President Sepp Blatter and receives the award for the tournament’s best player.
Watching on were the victorious German squad, who had dispatched Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final and reduced Messi to little more than a spectator in the final itself, and Javier Mascherano – the player that had single-handedly dragged Argentina to within touching distance of victory.
Messi scored four times during the course of the tournament – against Bosnia, Iran, and twice against Nigeria. His performances in those games were unquestionably excellent, but surely, surely they were not worthy of such an award, especially considering his almost non-existence in the knockout rounds.
What else do we know about Lionel Messi? He’s the face of the FIFA game series, he’s a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, and has twice been named in Time magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world.
In the 2013-14 season Messi scored 41 goals in 46 games, and this year has added 17 goals in 18 games – incredible numbers of course, but his lowest since 2008-09. Barcelona also finished third in La Liga, lost the Copa del Rey final, and were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid.
Let’s add in the fact that Messi stands accused of tax evasion, and could owe several million in unpaid debts. When you consider the controversy surrounding Luis Suarez’s latest bite was enough to stop him even being nominated for the Ballon d’Or, there certainly seems to be a degree of favouritism when it comes to Messi.
Even when taken on a purely footballing basis, a Ballon d’Or winner must surely need to have contributed to a winning team. Both Messi’s rival finalists – Cristiano Ronaldo and Manuel Neuer – have been successful as part of a team, as well as individually.
By dubbing Messi one of the world’s three best players in 2014, FIFA have only served to enhance a growing belief that it is one rule for some, and another for somebody else. They have their favourites, and will continue to parade them for as long as they are allowed.
You can only feel sympathy for Messi – who as stated earlier, remains one of the best footballers of all time – because he has been made a puppet of FIFA’s greed for commercial success. Messi sells, and they will continue to exploit that fact for their own gain, without a seconds thought.
SEE ALSO: Lionel Messi career in pictures – ten years since Barcelona star’s debut!