Yes, I truly consider Messi to be one of the finest this generation has embraced. Argentina is my favorite team and I love when Messi messes around with the opponents and makes them look dumb as he whisks past as if the ball is stuck to his toes. But, there is this crucial question that I always ask myself – does he deserve the ‘Greatest’ tag?
Champions lead from the front, they can decimate attacks single-handedly and inspire their teams to achieve the pinnacle of glory. Unfortunately for us, I have never seen Messi doing it for Argentina. Yes, you can argue based on his number of goals and his undisputed reputation as the ‘Playmaker’ for Barcelona. But, catapulting your national team to glory is the benchmark for being remembered as a legend. Remember – greats don’t just accumulate individual brilliance, they influence contemporaries and generations. They inspire you to get inspired.
Does Messi qualify in this pedestal of glory? I would like to believe he did but numbers and statistics don’t do justice.
His best chance was in 2014 World Cup finals, but Germany’s tactical brilliance and Messi’s failure to produce his best in the big games meant Argentina have squandered an opportunity to bag the coveted trophy. In fact, his failure to raise his game in crunch situations is tantamount at the helm of his performances with the National team. I agree, he didn’t have the best of teams at his disposal but then, that is the enviable expectation from a player who is widely regarded as the numero uno of his generation, not just for his team. Noticeably, I do see him not qualified enough for the ‘Big Match Player’ tag, especially when his faltering performances with the National team is an excruciating embarrassment.
I did love watching Messi play football, but I don’t see myself associating him with the ‘Greatest’ tag. If he goes, I won’t miss him.