Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

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Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by LuvSports! on Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:09 am

Hey sports fans
Here is my take on who is the football goat.
Any feedback would be great thanks!
Hope you like it.
http://richard-mills-sports.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/is-lionel-messi-greatest-player-of-all.html

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:39 am

Is Lionel Messi the greatest player of all time.

No, he isn't.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by socal1976 on Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:32 pm

Yes absolutely and without question. Hell he may score a thousand goals in the modern game before he is done and win more world player of the year titles than anyone even imagined possible. And he is a great playmaker as well.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Alessandro Ciambella on Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:33 am

Messi is not the greatest of all time. I would take C. Ronaldo over him all day long. He's been successful in England and Spain. He has dragged his Portugese team through Euros and played consistently well in World Cups. Messi has only ever played for the most dominant team in Europe, Barcelona. Useless in World Cups. Brazil May have been dominant internationally back in the 70s with or with out Pele, but the same can be said about Barca and Messi. In a good Argintina team, he is only average. He would burn out in Germany or the Premier League and that's why he will always be at Barca. He does not have the minerals to challenge himself in a team not built around him. Yet, we a hail him the GOAT?
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:56 am

He's out until next year now, seriously injury plagued season up to date. Hopefully he'll be fresh for the WC though. Ronaldo should dominate La Liga this year.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:06 am

Messi isnt the greatest of all time...he's good in spain, well better than good, but on the big stage I.E. international level he hasnt starred more than the likes of Ronaldo etc..

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:58 am

picard 
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Guest on Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:10 am

Olly wrote:picard 
Laugh 

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by monty junior on Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:55 am

He's up there but pointless to rate a 26 year old, wait ten or so years. Ronaldo isn't even the best ever player with his name!

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by NickisBHAFC on Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:25 am

Olly wrote:picard 
Laugh

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Stella on Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:44 pm

One of them would be the safe option. Scores, creates, dribbles better than anyone has, and does track back at times.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by socal1976 on Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:37 am

monty junior wrote:He's up there but pointless to rate a 26 year old, wait ten or so years. Ronaldo isn't even the best ever player with his name!
Yep, the phenomenon was incredible till injury basically wasted him away by his mid 20s, if players back then were protected as much as they are today he may have smashed all the scoring records. C. Ronaldo is great but he has not had the kind of success or numbers messi has, he also is not as good a passer. As for not rating Messi because he plays in La Liga is quite silly. The guy has close to 70 champion's league goals which in my mind is the preeminent competition in the world with the highest level of play.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:37 am

socal1976 wrote:Yes absolutely and without question. Hell he may score a thousand goals in the modern game before he is done and win more world player of the year titles than anyone even imagined possible. And he is a great playmaker as well.
I don't know how many goals Messi has to his name already, but Pele scored 1282 goals in competitive matches at a rate of 0.94 goals per game, including 95 goals for Brazil.  He also won 3 world cups, is the Guinness Book of Records holder of the most goals for a professional footballer and most world cup winners medals.  He shares, with Sir Geoff Hurst, the record for most goals (3) in world cup finals (although Pele didn't get his all in one game..!!)

He also holds the record for the most goals in a calendar year, 127 in 1959.  He holds the record for most goals in a national domestic championship competition, 650 career goals, and the record for the most hat tricks, 92.

Amongst his many, many football medals, he was also awarded a number of civil honours such as:

Athlete of the Century, by the International Olympic Committee, 1999
Inducted into the American Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993
Made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1997
Awarded The Laureus World Sports Award, presented by Nelson Mandela, 2000
Time Magazine listed him in their 100 most important people of the 20th Century
Footballer of the Century, awarded by UNICEF, on behalf of the United Nations in 1999

Other organisations that awarded him Player of the Century awards were:
FIFA
France Ballon D'or award winners
International Federation of Football Historians and Statisticians

He was selected in the following all time teams:

FIFA World Cup All Time Team
World Team of the Century
FIFA World Cup Dream Team 2002
World Soccer Greatest XI of All Time 2013


Follow that, Lionel.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Guest on Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:52 am

I was always led to believe that a fair share of Pele's goals were scored in exhibition matches, might be wrong though but that said..

Diego Maradona was thrice the player Pele ever was. Won a World Cup literally on his own. Pele was blessed to be part of great teams, which Maradona wasn't.

Messi is the greatest player of the past decade no doubt though.




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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:58 pm

FreekShow wrote:I was always led to believe that a fair share of Pele's goals were scored in exhibition matches, might be wrong though but that said..

Diego Maradona was thrice the player Pele ever was. Won a World Cup literally on his own. Pele was blessed to be part of great teams, which Maradona wasn't.

Messi is the greatest player of the past decade no doubt though.
I agree with your last comment, Freek.  Lionel Messi is without doubt a superb player and I cannot think of anyone who has made the impression on the game in the new millennium that he has.

As for Maradona.  Well, he was skilful for sure and yes, the best player of his time, but he was a seriously flawed person.  One word:  Drugs.

You suggest he won the 1986 world cup single handedly.  Well, a hand certainly did come into the equation, didn't it...?   True, he had a very influential quarter final against England, and semi final against Belgium, but apart from that, did very little else in the tournament.  Apart from the QF and SF, he scored only one goal.... in a slow paced Group A match against Italy that finished 1 - 1 and had more than a whiff of 'fixed match' about it because it conveniently helped both teams qualify from the group that was not exactly the "group of death" (every world cup has one), but was more appropriately labelled at the time "the group of sleep", so turgid were the matches.

He played in four world cups.  In 1982 he was red carded in Argentina's match against Brazil, and was unable to escape the attentions of Claudio Gentile in the game against Italy that eliminated Argentina from the tournament.  In 1990 he was suffering with an ankle injury and was much less effective than usual and although Argentina made the final of that tournament, their performance throughout was criticised for its  negativity and cynicism.  In 1994, Maradona was sent home in disgrace after testing positive for the banned substance Ephidrene.  An ignominious end to his world cup career.

Diego Maradona's entire reputation on the world cup stage was built upon those two games in 1986.  Well, one and a half, really, because in the first half against England, he was quite well shackled by the England defence and didn't get a sniff of goal.  In his other tournaments, the only memorable things he did were to get sent off, upset the press and fail a drugs test.

More the actions of a global upstart than a superstar.

In fairness though, he was a tremendously gifted player and it is immensely frustrating that we only really had glimpses of what he could have been had he not been such a flawed human being.  He had power, pace, a delicate touch and could finish with laser precision when at his best.  Sadly, his best was tainted by a personality that bordered on the paranoid delusional and often crossed that line.  His temperament had a short fuse and his finger was never far from the self destruct button.  His addiction to cocaine kept him out of football for 15 months when he was banned by FIFA in 1991 for (again) failing a drugs test.

As for the "greatest goal of all time", ...... you know the one..... well, I always thought Brazil's fourth goal in the 1970 final, scored by Carlos Alberto was better.  But that's just a personal opinion.  Yes, Maradona dribbled past Terry Fenwick, Terry Butcher, Steve Hodge, Peter Beardsley and Peter Reid (wow.. being chased by Peter Reid must have put his pace to the test..!!), but I think the goal would have had more kudos if it had been scored against an Italian defence the like of which Brazil scored four in their 1970 final.  



Teamwork or individualism..?  Personally, I value the former but that's just a personal preference.  

In the end, Diego Maradona's very best flared only briefly on the world stage.  The rest of his international career was less than it could have been.  His contribution to Napoli's championship wins in Serie A were more inspirational, but were still tainted by the long shadow of drugs abuse that fell across his time in Italy.

He was one of the greats, but could have been so much more.  In my opinion, the feeling that he didn't achieve as much as he could, or should have done, drops him below Pele in the "all time greatest" listing.  Such a sad waste.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Champagne_Socialist on Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:21 pm

Messi is the best player ever to have played. For the past 4/5 years his goal scoring record in la liga and for argentina is just amazing. he has also been voted best player in the world like 4 times and he has won the champions league 3 times and all at the age of 25.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Guest on Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:01 am

Fantastic little read that Lion and well put clap 

I'll have to revisit Mexico 86 now!

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:46 am

Champagne_Socialist wrote:Messi is the best player ever to have played. For the past 4/5 years his goal scoring record in la liga and for argentina is just amazing. he has also been voted besld t player in the world like 4 times and he has won the champions league 3 times and all at the age of 25.

By the age of 25, Pele had won the World Cup twice.

Messi's international goalscoring record at this time is 37 goals in 83 appearances at a scoring rate of 0.44 goals per game. Pele scored 95 goals in 113 internationals at a a scoring rate of 0.84. At his current rate of scoring, Messi would have to play approximately another 132 internationals to draw level.

Please don't get me wrong.... I'm not knocking Lionel Messi. He is by far the best player on the planet at this time, but as I've demonstrated in previous posts, his achievements at the very highest level have been miniscule in comparison with the Brazilian colossus. But there is time. Perhaps after Lionel Messi has retired after an illustrious playing career, his achievements may stand better scrutiny.

But he's got a long way to go, and a lot to do.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by socal1976 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:22 pm

The Fourth Lion wrote:
socal1976 wrote:Yes absolutely and without question. Hell he may score a thousand goals in the modern game before he is done and win more world player of the year titles than anyone even imagined possible. And he is a great playmaker as well.
I don't know how many goals Messi has to his name already, but Pele scored 1282 goals in competitive matches at a rate of 0.94 goals per game, including 95 goals for Brazil.  He also won 3 world cups, is the Guinness Book of Records holder of the most goals for a professional footballer and most world cup winners medals.  He shares, with Sir Geoff Hurst, the record for most goals (3) in world cup finals (although Pele didn't get his all in one game..!!)

He also holds the record for the most goals in a calendar year, 127 in 1959.  He holds the record for most goals in a national domestic championship competition, 650 career goals, and the record for the most hat tricks, 92.

Amongst his many, many football medals, he was also awarded a number of civil honours such as:

Athlete of the Century, by the International Olympic Committee, 1999
Inducted into the American Soccer Hall of Fame in 1993
Made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1997
Awarded The Laureus World Sports Award, presented by Nelson Mandela, 2000
Time Magazine listed him in their 100 most important people of the 20th Century
Footballer of the Century, awarded by UNICEF, on behalf of the United Nations in 1999

Other organisations that awarded him Player of the Century awards were:
FIFA
France Ballon D'or award winners
International Federation of Football Historians and Statisticians

He was selected in the following all time teams:

FIFA World Cup All Time Team
World Team of the Century
FIFA World Cup Dream Team 2002
World Soccer Greatest XI of All Time 2013


Follow that, Lionel.
First off Pele didn't win the world cups single handedly Brazil had a plethora of world class talent.It would be like saying Zidane won the European title and world cup for france and ignoring the contributions of Henry, Thuram, Desailly, Blanc, Petit, etc.  Secondly he scored his goals almost entirely in the brazilian league of the 1960s and 1970s. Hardly known for their prolific defensive qualities. The goal scoring rate since then has come down immeasurably due to fitter, stronger players and tactically more defense minded coaches. Then Brian Clough is the greatest scorer in the history of top flight English football, he had nearly as high goal numbers in an era where all quality goal scorers had high goal to game ratios. You can not simply measure goal numbers from 60s brazilian league and compare them to modern top flight European football. If Messi played in the 60s Brazilian league he would score 2 goals a game or close to it. As for his failure at the international level he will finish as Argentina's all time leading scorer for certain and he has two more world cups to go. That hardly can be called a failure at the international level.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by TopHat24/7 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:40 pm

No.

He plays in an easier era than either Pele or Maradonna had to contend with.

Also, in comparison with his nearest equal (Maradonna) he's played in a better national side and won nothing (when DM won them the World Cup) and played in an infinitely better club side (possibly the greatest ever) whereas DM twice took Napoli under-dogs to SerieA titles.

Part of what puts Ronaldo neck and neck with him, in this era, is that CR has done 'it' in two (very) different leagues winning domestic and Euro titles with both clubs - neither of whom, esp United, are near as good as Barca.

Don't get me wrong, still think he's a legend and has got to be fighting (with Ronaldo) for Top5 of all time slots. But if his career ended now I wouldn't consider he's done enough to usurp the top 2.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:51 pm

Pele's international record shows that his goal scoring in the Brazilian league was no fluke, a league in which the majority of the best Brazilians still played. The German, Italian and English sides of the 60's and 70's are among the best defensively there has ever been. I could well be wrong here but there was no official world player of the year award for Pele to win back in the 60's so comparing Ballon D'ors to nothing is very superficial.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by mystiroakey on Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:35 am

Yes,


To counter Top hats argument / I believe this era is by far the toughest environment to play in due to just simple maths.

This is a sport that has grown 10 fold since those days in professionalism, population playing, fitness, understanding, training techniques. To reach the top today is so much harder than back then.

However back then the game was different- so we have to remember that tackles where harder, attackers didn't get as many benefits. but then at the same time reffing has got better. We catch more hand balls these days Wink


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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:03 am

mystiroakey wrote:Yes,


To counter Top hats argument / I believe this era is by far the toughest environment to play in due to just simple maths.

This is a sport that has grown 10 fold since those days in professionalism, population playing, fitness, understanding, training techniques. To reach the top today is so much harder than back then.

However back then the game was different- so we have to remember that tackles where harder, attackers didn't get as many benefits. but then at the same time reffing has got better. We catch more hand balls these days Wink

I don't quite follow your argument regarding how this is by far the toughest environment to play in.   It is a doddle compared to the days when, for instance, Pele was quite literally kicked out of the 1966 world cup.  The treatment meted out to him could be described as savagery.  Lionel Messi has no experience of that kind of play and I doubt very much he would be able to cope with it either physically or psychologically.

It is true that Pele played in good teams, but then... he was the best player in those teams so it wasn't so much a case of him riding on the backs of great players, more a case of other players being inspired to rise to his level of greatness.

I would argue that Lionel plays in a pretty good Barcelona team too, you know.  He hasn't won those European Cups single handedly either.  

To say that he would have scored two goals a game is pure speculation based on a somewhat starry-eyed level of hero-worship and not supported by any real evidence.  In my looooooooong experience of watching football over a number of decades, I would say that Gerd Muller, Jimmy Greaves,  Eusebio and Ian Rush were better "pure goalscorers" than Messi.

Sure, he's a good footballer.   He's even a very good footballer.  I'd even accept that he is the best player of his generation.   And for now, he's got a couple of Champions League medals in a team that contains some of the players of the best team Spain has ever had in its history.  But in the fullness of time, we will see if his "greatness" translates into world cups, global respect, ambassadorial status and honourable mentions in the most exalted institutions on the planet.  

Time will tell.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by TopHat24/7 on Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:49 pm

mystiroakey wrote:Yes,


To counter Top hats argument / I believe this era is by far the toughest environment to play in due to just simple maths.

This is a sport that has grown 10 fold since those days in professionalism, population playing, fitness, understanding, training techniques. To reach the top today is so much harder than back then.

However back then the game was different- so we have to remember that tackles where harder, attackers didn't get as many benefits. but then at the same time reffing has got better. We catch more hand balls these days Wink

How is playing on bowling-green pitches in an environment where defenders get booked for saying boo to a goose let alone employ some actual physical contact harder than what Pele and Maradonna (especially) had to contend with?

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by mystiroakey on Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:27 pm

Its much harder to stand out in an era that has more population given the opoortuinitys to shine.

Rules are the same for everyone, so you have to evolve with the rules or you dont get better. If the rules didnt change maybe other players would have been the best today and not messi. But that still doesn't detract from the reality that professionalism has increased ten fold and there is so many more players playing at the highest level- so to be the best in a much more significant era tells us that by odds the chances are the best players today are better than players before that only had to shine from a pool where 50% of the players smoked and drunk everyday of there lifes and the other 49% would still be called 'fat' by today's standards- and there is to technology out there to get the best out of players

It doesn't mean they are better today- but the chances are very much in favour.

Its like arguing two different sports today.

But one of which is much more advanced and populas and the other is darts or something.

So you might as well argue phil taylor v messi

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by kingraf on Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:19 am

Never ever forgotten Mike Artherton's autobiography - he remarks on how remarkable it is that in almost all sports where one can empirically measure and compare eras, the performances have improved, and yet in sports where the eye is the greatest judge across eras, performances are generally seen to have regressed... the poor fool probably forgot about that the moment he retired, as he never thinks any current player can hold a candle to his group. Such is the human condition that the tints on the specs are indelible
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by mystiroakey on Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:24 am

I am not a fan of that man dude..

Worst england captain ever

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:24 am

mystiroakey wrote:Its much harder to stand out in an era that has more population given the opoortuinitys to shine.

Rules are the same for everyone, so you have to evolve with the rules or you dont get better. If the rules didnt change maybe other players would have been the best today and not messi. But that still doesn't detract from the reality that professionalism has increased ten fold and there is so many more players playing at the highest level- so to be the best in a much more significant era tells us that by odds the chances are the best players today are better than players before that only had to shine from a pool where 50% of the players smoked and drunk everyday of there lifes and the other 49% would still be called 'fat' by today's standards- and there is to technology out there to get the best out of players

It doesn't mean they are better today- but the chances are very much in favour.

Its like arguing two different sports today.

But one of which is much more advanced and populas and the other is darts or something.

So you might as well argue phil taylor v messi
Hmmmm an interesting slant on things but there is a counter-argument to that too.

It could reasonably be argued that if older players had had the benefits that today's players have, that is, fitness and conditioning regimes, better pitches, footballs designed to swerve,  yada, yada, yada..... then they would have been even better players than they were.   If Puskas, Pele, Eusebio, et al had had access to the kinds of advantages that Messi has, then who knows what they might have achieved.  The mind boggles.  This is, of course, speculation, but it does make you wonder, doesn't it..?

There is also the niggling feeling that I have, that our opinion of modern players is often dictated by hype and marketing.   We are constantly told how great Messi is, and how everything he touches is a stroke of absolute genius and you know..... I sometimes see things on the TV with the accompanying hysterical commentary and think to myself that actually, what I have just seen him do isn't really that special.  We're just being told it is.  And many people are believing it.

You'll never see Al Owairan's goal for Saudi Arabia in the 1994 world cup being feted in the same way that, say, Maradona's goal against England in '86 is,  (see youtube clip below) and why..?  Because Al Owairan played for Saudi Arabia and is a nobody.  Yet, for my money, his dribble, the number (and quality) of defenders he beat and the finish itself is far superior to Maradona's.  



So much of our opinions are force-fed to us until we believe them, and not only that, we think they are our own opinions.   Sometimes, we could all do with a massive removal of our blinkers, to  see through the hype.

And if we did that, or watched more critically, or even turned the sound down, then some players may start to look a little more ordinary.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by TopHat24/7 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:42 am

Get the harder to stand out point, and if we were talking about defenders I'd be more with you.

But we're not.

Messi has never felt the brutal pressure Pele or Maradonna did. You can win a foul off a shoulder nudge these days, back then skilful players were regularly kicked clean off the ground with little or no recompense being handed out.

Re 'rules are the same for everyone' and 'evolve over time' etc, the rules Pele/M'donna played under were much much tougher. And that does matter. It's not a case of evolving to suit, the whole game has moved in the favour of players like Messi.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by socal1976 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:15 am

Yes and the league Pele played in was also much easier to score in, The 50s and 60s Brazilian league had a lot of great players but was hardly known as the mecca of defensive football. Everyone scored more goals in the 60s so if you compare just goal numbers without looking at the context than the 60s and 50s strikers were the best ever. Sorry no period that half the players were smokers can be deemed the best of anything.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:48 am

Lets just think about the 60's for a moment

Pele- Brazils greatest player
Charlton- Englands greatest player
Eusebio- Portugals greatest player

Then there's Law, Best, Beckenbauer, Di Stefano, Puskas, Yashin, Banks etc.

All players considered to be their countries greatest ever and in the case of the latter two, the two greatest goalkeepers of them all.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:21 pm

socal1976 wrote:Yes and the league Pele played in was also much easier to score in, The 50s and 60s Brazilian league had a lot of great players but was hardly known as the mecca of defensive football. Everyone scored more goals in the 60s so if you compare just goal numbers without looking at the context than the 60s and 50s strikers were the best ever. Sorry no period that half the players were smokers can be deemed the best of anything.
Suggesting that Lionel Messi is the greatest player in the history of the game because he doesn't smoke  (that we know of) is a bit like saying I'm the world's greatest ever shed builder because I've never hit my thumb with a hammer.

Actually.... er.... Pele never smoked either, so that argument is negated anyway.

But hey.... who says the 50's and 60's were easier decades to score goals in..?   Haven't you been reading the posts throughout this thread thoroughly?   As Top Hat points out above, and I absolutely agree with him, defenders of that generation had no qualms whatsoever about kicking an opponent up in the air, whereas the modern striker can get a free kick or penalty if brushed with a slight breeze that has all the force of a kitten's f*rt.  

Anyone who thinks that South American football was soft, should read up on the "Battle of Montevideo", when European Champions Glasgow Celtic played against Racing Club of Argentina for the World Club Championship.  Although it was Celtic who had the majority of players sent off  (4, as opposed to Racing Club's two), of the more than 50 fouls penalised in the match, most were committed by the South Americans, including some really horrible, career threatening hacks.  This was typical of the entire continent, not just Argentina.  The '62 world cup in Chile had seen some awful foul play, too.

The stats don't tell the full story though.  In the previous two matches between the teams, the South Americans had behaved brutally throughout and by the time of the play off decider, the Celtic players had had enough and decided to fight fire with fire.  Their offences were ones of retaliation, provoked by the most outrageous thuggery.

And it should not be forgotten that only one year earlier, during the world cup, England manager Alf Ramsey had described the Argentinians as "animals".  Strong language for that time.

Soft in South America...?   I don't think so.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Intercontinental_Cup


Last edited by The Fourth Lion on Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Stella on Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:24 pm

Not soft, but not the best, hey?

Even then, European Football was deemed the better than the South American leagues.

As for the debate. Messi may go on to be the greatest, but not yet.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:53 pm

Stella wrote:Not soft, but not the best, hey?

Even then, European Football was deemed the better than the South American leagues.

As for the debate. Messi may go on to be the greatest, but not yet.
I would agree with that. Crystal ball gazing is always fun, and who knows what may transpire between now and then. As I said several posts back...... Time will tell.


I would, however, be interested to know how you qualify your statement about European football being deemed better than the South American leagues. During the period currently in debate (the 1960's / 70's) the Intercontinental Cup (a sort of unofficial world club championship) was won more times by South American teams than Europeans, indeed, Santos of Brazil, with Pele playing won it twice in 1962 & 63, beating a Benfica team that contained players like Graca, Torres and Eusebio, and AC Milan, the toughest exponents of the Italian defensive system of Cattenacio.

I'm all for passionate discussion and people prepared to stand their ground, but the results from that time tend to disagree with your statements.

To be honest, the discussion is now becoming nugatory and nit-picking. I think that what we have here is a case of "entrenched position" and all I hope is that Lionel stays fit and never suffers a career ending injury which would enable his besotted fans to claim that he would have scored several thousand goals and won a dozen world cups all on his own. Given the nature of 21st Century football though, it is probable that he'll never suffer from anything more life threatening than photo-shoot flash blindness. We can therefore look forward to many years of Lionel's undoubted brilliance and we'll tot up the medals when he calls it a day. Sounds good to me.





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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by Stella on Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:34 pm

Just from what I've read really. And don't count those 'friendlies' as real matches. Liverpool use to get played off the park by Flamengo but they treated it as a friendly game.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by socal1976 on Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:21 am

Fourth Lion, if half the defenders you play against smoked 20 fags a day and did not even know what a weight room looked like then it might impact your scoring. The fact that Pele did not smoke is irrelevant when a huge number of the defenders checking him did.

The game in 50s and 60s was more violent and physical, but conversely ACROSS THE BOARD THERE WERE HIGHER GOAL SCORING NUMBERS FOR ALL ATTACKERS, MORE GOALS PER GAME. Interestingly, you write several paragraphs of some well researched stuff but you actually don't address any of my points. You seem to want to provide raw numbers without any historical context. The game up till the late 1960s was highly offensive with all the top strikers scoring incredible amounts of goals by today's standards, therefore Pele's goal numbers are a bit inflated.

For example, of the top 8 goal scorers in top flight history only one of them played post 1970s and that is Alan shearer. All 7 others played between the prior to that and in black and white. By your analysis than we have to conclude the greatest striker in the history of English top flight football is Arthur Rowley. He is better than RVP, Rooney, Shearer, Henry, Wright etc. Why extend your greatness because of total goals argument to only Pele. All attackers scored more in the league and time that Pele played in, how awful the fouls were is not disputed, but despite that all attacker had higher goal numbers and goals per match were much higher than today.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:33 pm

socal1976 wrote:Fourth Lion, if half the defenders you play against smoked 20 fags a day and did not even know what a weight room looked like then it might impact your scoring. The fact that Pele did not smoke is irrelevant when a huge number of the defenders checking him did.

The game in 50s and 60s was more violent and physical, but conversely ACROSS THE BOARD THERE WERE HIGHER GOAL SCORING NUMBERS FOR ALL ATTACKERS, MORE GOALS PER GAME. Interestingly, you write several paragraphs of some well researched stuff but you actually don't address any of my points. You seem to want to provide raw numbers without any historical context. The game up till the late 1960s was highly offensive with all the top strikers scoring incredible amounts of goals by today's standards, therefore Pele's goal numbers are a bit inflated.

For example, of the top 8 goal scorers in top flight history only one of them played post 1970s and that is Alan shearer. All 7 others played between the prior to that and in black and white. By your analysis than we have to  conclude the greatest striker in the history of English top flight football is Arthur Rowley. He is better than RVP, Rooney, Shearer, Henry, Wright etc. Why extend your greatness because of total goals argument to only Pele. All attackers scored more in the league and time that Pele played in, how awful the fouls were is not disputed, but despite that all attacker had higher goal numbers and goals per match were much higher than today.


I really cannot say how good or bad a player like Arthur Rowley was because I never saw him play.  

I admire Pele tremendously, and compare him to others such as Maradona, Cruyff, Messi.... et al.... because I have seen them play in the flesh and have a view in my own mind as to their merits.

As a general rule, I think it is fair to say that football is, and always has been, generally, a low scoring contest.  I agree that in the early days of international football, England used to hand out ridiculous thrashings to Wales and Ireland, but mostly, matches between teams of comparable skill, such as England vs Scotland were much tighter, therefore goals were as much a valued commodity then as they are now.

It could reasonably be argued that the player who scored at a high ratio, such as an Arthur Rowley, or a Vivian Woodward were as comparatively talented and skilful in their day as any modern player.

One can only go by the reports of the time when one has no personal knowledge of a particular individual, and I think it would be reasonable to assess that press coverage of sport was not nearly as hyperbolic as it is in the modern era.  Television did not exist, so only some grainy cine reel footage exists of bygone days and that is not enough to base an educated opinion on.

The whole debate is, as I have said on several occasions, entirely subjective and every person's opinion is equally valid.  The only adjunct I would put to that is that at least I have the benefit of having seen those players perform, in the flesh, and I can therefore say I am able to compare like for like from a personal point of view.

Please believe that I have no gripe against Lionel Messi.  He is a fantastic player and I enjoy watching his skills as much as any other player in the modern era. In all honesty I cannot say whether he is or isn't the "greatest of all time".  All I can say is that, at this moment in time, I don't believe that he is.  That may change as his career develops.  He may, indeed, become a true and genuine "all time great" in time.

I hope he does.  Football needs big heroes.

I just don't think he is there yet.
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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by socal1976 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:01 pm

Good post, Lion, I agree it is subjective and I am not a Messi fanatic, but I think that he does get dismissed from the discussion of being the greatest player in football despite putting up ridiculous numbers and a ridiculous career. One caveat to your post, football has always been a relatively low scoring game. But I think you dismiss the defensive evolution of the game starting in the late 60s and 70s and don't take into account that across the board goal numbers are down. You talk up internationals, if you look at the lowest world cups scoring goals per game, the 5 lowest scoring world cups are all post 1986. That is the reason they have made all the rules changes in recent years like back passes to the goalie and to protect attackers more, because the goals were drying up. The added physical fitness and defensive minded tactics of the modern game helped the defenders more than the attackers. Therefore it simply is not accurate to compare goal scoring ratios from 50,60, and early 70s to modern da players on a one for one basis.

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Re: Is Lionel Messi really the greatest player of all time?

Post by The Fourth Lion on Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:59 pm

socal1976 wrote:Good post, Lion, I agree it is subjective and I am not a Messi fanatic, but I think that he does get dismissed from the discussion of being the greatest player in football despite putting up ridiculous numbers and a ridiculous career. One caveat to your post, football has always been a relatively low scoring game. But I think you dismiss the defensive evolution of the game starting in the late 60s and 70s and don't take into account that across the board goal numbers are down. You talk up internationals, if you look at the lowest world cups scoring goals per game, the 5 lowest scoring world cups are all post 1986. That is the reason they have made all the rules changes in recent years like back passes to the goalie and to protect attackers more, because the goals were drying up. The added physical fitness and defensive minded tactics of the modern game helped the defenders more than the attackers. Therefore it simply is not accurate to compare goal scoring ratios from 50,60, and early 70s to modern da players on a one for one basis.

I must question your comment regarding the back pass rule to goalkeepers being a recent innovation. Although I agree that it has changed recently, this is not the first time this law has been tinkered with.

Up until the late 1960's, teams were allowed to simply play the ball back to the goalkeeper, who would be able to pick it up and hold it. This tactic was used by teams to run the clock down towards the end of matches and it became frustrating for teams who might be trying to score a late equaliser or winner.

The law was changed to what became known as the "Four Step Rule", whereby a goalkeeper picking the ball up from a back pass was required to release it after taking four steps whilst holding the ball. It was a well intentioned change, but all that happened was that coaches told goalkeepers that after four steps, they should put the ball down, roll it a yard or two and then pick it up again. The time wasting continued.

Over the years, a number of attempts were made to tinker with this aspect of the game. The rule was changed to holding the ball for no more than ten seconds but how many referees actually counted out the ten seconds is a moot question. As far as I can remember, only one goalkeeper was ever penalised for excessive possession of the ball, in a high profile match, and that was George Wood of Everton, in a League Cup tie against Nottingham Forest..... and the resultant indirect free kick against him led to a goal for Forest.

I think you can imagine the fall-out for the referee from Everton players, officials, fans, etc. Simply put, it was more trouble than it was worth for them, and so the time wasting went on.

Eventually, in exasperation, it was decreed that no goalkeeper could touch the ball with his hands if it had been played in any way by a team mate last, before reaching him. This meant that goalkeepers couldn't save a shot with their hands if it had been deflected by a defender on it's way to goal. We had the ridiculous sight of goalkeepers diving across goal to head deflected shots off their goal line rather than give away an indirect free kick on their six yard line. Needless to say, that rule didn't last long.

We now have the current situation, which is sensible, fair, accepted by all and pretty much keeps the game flowing. It doesn't stop back passing altogether, but I reckon it's the best we're going to get.

But it's taken us a lot longer than you think to get there.
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