TODAY -

Messi -- The Name Is Enough - II

Rajendra Kshetri *



Now that he has won the elusive Holy Grail of football, is Messi the greatest player to have ever played on a football pitch ? He has won/achieved every trophy/title/award there is to win.

Winner of 7 Ballon d'Ors, Fifa World Player of the Year (2009), The Best FIFA Men's Player (2019), 6 European Golden Shoes, 2 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (2014 and 2022, the only player to win it twice), FIFA World Cup Silver Boot (2022), 2 FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball (2009, 2011), FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Ball (2005), FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Boot (2005), 2 Copa America Best Player (2015, 2021), Copa America Top Goalscorer (2021), 6 La-Liga Best Player, 8 Pichichi Trophy, Laureus World Sportsman of the year (2020), 14 Argentine Footballer of the year; Messi has surpassed any other player, past and present, and set the bar too high for any upcoming player to emulate.

In addition to his individual achievements, Messi at club level has won 10 La Liga titles, 4 UEFA Champions League, 3 Club World Cups during his stay at Barca. After moving to PSG, Messi has won League 1 (2021-22) and Trophee des Champion (2022) till date. At the National level too, Messi has won for his country Argentina FIFA U-20 World Cup (2005), Summer Olympics (2008), Copa America (2021), Finalissima (2022) and the grandest of all Cups/trophies-- the FIFA World Cup (2022).

There has been /are football greats in history-- Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Zinedine Zidane, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho, Zico, Platini, Lothar Matheus, Romario, Bebeto, Marco van Basten, Luis Figo, Ferenc Puskas and others who all in their unique styles have made this 'beautiful game' more beautiful and popular. But none of them could come anywhere close to three names/players, 3 super greats-- Pele, Maradona and Messi-- to be considered/named as the Greatest of All Time. The GOAT.

What more could one say/add about Pele (may his soul rest in peace), the Black Pearl. He is the only player in history to have won 3 World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970). Labelled 'the greatest ' by FIFA , Pele is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and was among the most popular sports figures of 20th century. It is not for nothing that his name is synonymous with football.

Maradona became a household name after the 1986 Mexico World Cup. Had he not been there, the Mexico edition would have been just one of the world cups played every four years. With his 2 most famous goals-- 'Hand of God ' goal (one of the most controversial moments in FIFA World Cup history) and 'Goal of the Century ' (most spectacular goal ever seen in history)-- scored against England in the quarterfinal enroute to the final (Argentina beat Germany 3-2 in regulation time) , Maradona rightfully staked his claim to be one of the greatest players of all time.

Mexico World Cup was indeed Maradona's World Cup. A rebel and controversial figure off and on the field, and not afraid to hit out at FIFA many a times, justice was done though when Maradona and Pele were declared as joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century (20th century) in the year 2000. It is no surprise that Maradona is hailed as 'God of football'.

The 21st century heralded a New Avatar of football. An alien, a person from another planet who came down to planet earth to not simply play but show football as an art form. The world has since then witnessed his magical skill, uncanny ability to read the pitch/game, score goals, dribble, assist/pass, create space when there is none, change the course of a game within minutes.

An artist with the ball at his feet, a dazzler, a super fast runner with the ball than without, a prolific scorer, a wonderful playmaker, an incredible free-kick taker, a cool penalty taker, a gifted dribbler, a never-seen- before assister, you name it. He has everything and is everything. Football comes natural to him and he plays in so natural a manner that it looks easy, simple and effortless. Messi (who else) is to football what a duck is to water.

No piece of writing (on Messi, Maradona and Pele, or for that matter Ronaldo) can be complete if the 'goat debate ' is not mentioned/addressed. Who among Pele, Maradona and Messi is the Greatest Player of all time ? The GOAT (by the way, all three are Latino players. Does it say something about the quality/superiority of South American football over the European football?) . The 'goat debate' is purely subjective and everyone will have opinions depending on his/her tastes, likes and feelings. It is a matter of personal opinion/choice. There is no such thing as the Right Answer or the Wrong Answer.

For someone like yours truly, an ardent football fan and enthusiast, who grew up watching Basanta Kabui and Ramkumar way back in the late sixties and early seventies in the CC Meet Tournament (the oldest tournament in North East India) at Imphal Polo Ground (Mapan Kangjeibung) , the privilege to watch Pele play live was beyond reach. Pele played in an era before the advent of television in Manipur.

Barring a couple of video clips and the Hollywood picture 'Escape to Victory' (where Pele was seen in action) , I have not been privileged to watch him play live. It will therefore be outlandish and highly presumptuous on my part to compare Pele with either Maradona or Messi. That being said, it does in no way takes away the greatness of Pele in any manner. The fact is, Pele was, is and will always remain as one of the greatest players in history.

The advent of television transmission in the State in the early eighties (Manipur was brought under the coverage of Doordarshan during the Asian Games 1982) revolutionized people's perception/conception of football. For the first time, people have had the pleasant experience of seeing/watching football Greats on television. Diego Armando Maradona was brought/seen live on the big screen and following his never-seen-before exploits/footballing skills in Mexico 1986 , was /is soon worshipped as ' God of football '.

So was Lionel Andres Messi whose stunning performances at the club (Barca) and National (Argentina) level were/are there for all to see and watch. Messi's skill and technique on the pitch is so incredibly mesmerizing and out of this world that it is difficult to believe that an earthling would/could possess such qualities. It is magical, to say the least.

There is something celestial, some elements of divinity about Messi and his play/game. Watching Messi play at his best is pure poetry. Messi is poetry in motion when he catches, dribbles, assists the ball and scores. How so befitting and poetic Messi is hailed as an 'alien, from another planetí.

For a player to be hailed as the best and /or the greatest in history, scoring goal is not enough. He needs to be involved and excelled in all aspects of the game. Be it score, assist, pass, dribble, control, play making, heading, free-kick, penalty kick. Versatility is what is needed to be the Greatest. And this is where only Maradona and Messi fit the bill as they have all the prerequisite credentials.

Maradona's ability to control the ball and create scoring opportunities for himself and others, enviable and inimitable trickery with the ball at his feet are stuff only legends are made of. Only Messi, of all the greats, past and present, matches Maradona in every aspect of the game.


* Rajendra Kshetri wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Professor of Sociology at Manipur University, Imphal.
This article was webcasted on February 23 2023 .



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Floral Tribute: 4 Meetei killed : Gallery
  • Violence in Manipur 2023 :: News Timeline
  • Licypriya Kangujam meets Pope Francis
  • Violence unlikely to cease
  • Landscape: Phuba Thapham Village : Gallery
  • Alleged commencement of genocide campaign
  • World Environment Day 2023
  • Poppy plantation & narco terrorism
  • How to become a cyber security expert
  • No end in sight to violence
  • Time to validate reservation in health sector
  • Women CSOs meet Amit Shah : Gallery
  • Who is the Troublemaker in Manipur ?
  • Global Manipur Federation Established
  • Amit Shah Ji made it very clear
  • Beekeeping for a successful sweet revolution
  • Upward tick of body bags
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #5
  • Joseph's Son Premiere @Shanghai Film Fest
  • Memorandum to Union Home Minister
  • India's Act East Policy and its Influence on NE
  • Amit Shah plans to bring violence to an end
  • Women in civil services (Administrative)
  • High expectation, minimal crisis measures
  • A Voice From Khurkhul
  • Has appeasement towards Kuki backfired ?
  • Roaring through the Frontier
  • 3rd June is World Bicycle Day
  • Witnessing the resurgence
  • Setting the narratives right
  • Pinning hope on judicial probe to end crisis
  • Human-chain @ Keishampat #1 : Gallery
  • Wanted : The Idea of Manipur
  • Post of DGP Manipur
  • Fallout a legacy of colonial British rule #2
  • Workshop: Integration of Communication
  • Union Home Minister's visit is a step too late
  • Manipur in flames since one month
  • Random use of firearms debunks communal
  • Amit Shah visit to Manipur [31 May] : Gallery
  • Fallout a legacy of colonial British rule #1
  • Day 3 report of Amit Shah's visit
  • 8000 surrender since 2014; Manipur burning
  • Breast Cancer! What all you need to know
  • No magic formula spelt out
  • Armed attacks corroborate irrelevance of ST
  • Singju Fest @Heingang #2 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • Memorandum to Union Home Minister
  • Condemned Vandal, Media Misinformation
  • The voice of India's traditional handlooms
  • Amit Shah in town
  • Task cut out for Centre to prevent battle
  • A family of painters & their works
  • Peace first - Solution next
  • Concern over ongoing ethnic violence
  • Condemnation of Act by Armed Militants
  • Nation building through Jan Bhagidari
  • Playing the victim card
  • Internet ban serving no real purpose
  • Relief camp @ Khundrakpam #2 : Gallery
  • How Nehru accepted ... a religious head
  • Observation of present unrest in Manipur #2
  • When rage hijacks sanity
  • Why internationationalisation of education
  • A case of Nero fiddled while Rome burnt ?
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #4
  • The Good Old Days :: Poem
  • Status of Mithun farming in NE
  • Beauty essentials for your holiday
  • Chaudhary Charan: The Voice of Rural India
  • Manipur crisis on centre's menu, at last
  • Curfew : Night time in Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur turmoil - Dynamics and misgivings
  • Debate on Art 371-C, new facet to violence
  • Sausage as a value added product
  • Gender & anti-corruption : G-20 Agenda
  • Waiting for the Union Home Minister
  • Insecurity among MLAs as violence continues
  • Advanced INA Headquarters, Moirang #2
  • Mt. Khangchendzonga and me
  • Awakening call to our leaders :: Poem
  • The unseen costs of Internet shutdown
  • An open letter to PM Narendra Modi
  • Best choice of career options after 12th Arts
  • Time to think for the children
  • Gunmen loose in foothill, military in city
  • Sit-in-Protest [21 May] : Gallery
  • Manipur situation mentioned at UN
  • Observation of present unrest in Manipur #1
  • Man, woman, sex, sexuality and the truth
  • Japanese koi fish: Farming in Manipur
  • Khurakki Eena Lai Saba
  • Time to tilt the balance
  • The Story of Leishemba : Fungga Wari #2
  • Press Meet at Dispur Press Club, Guwahati
  • Condemns assault on media by armed forces
  • What/who is tearing Manipur apart ?
  • The fast & ugly spread on social media
  • Separate admin call: Acceptable to the Nagas?
  • Task for men in uniform to restore peace
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Science
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Arts
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Commerce
  • Why should Meitei be included in ST list?
  • Books are our Best Friends
  • Forced peace not viable line
  • Expansionism agenda at play
  • Sit-in-Protest @ Ima Keithel : Gallery
  • International Tea Day : Jimli
  • CSO meet at Manipuri Basti, Guwahati
  • History - A New Perspective :: Poem
  • Posers to New Delhi and Imphal
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #3
  • Silent murmurs longing for answers
  • Perturbed about the future of Manipur
  • Take immediate action to bring normalcy
  • Can Myanmar-B'desh cooperate in disaster
  • Reopen national highways before it's too late
  • Tree's greatest strength lie in its roots
  • Press Conference at Press Club of India
  • Solidarity meet in support of women wrestlers
  • Management of Fall Armyworm
  • Benefit & drawback of Taka-Rupee exchange
  • Time to set right the narrative
  • Sit-in-Protest in Imphal : Gallery
  • Writer of 'CCpur da khundariba Meetei sing'
  • Landing in Sikkim, 1983
  • Request for lifting ban on Internet
  • Farm income through efficient farm mgmt #2
  • Condemns rape of a minor girl in Assam
  • SoO pact under scanner
  • Price of cooked up stories & hatred
  • Angamba & Samuel: Friendship beyond riot
  • Supreme Court ruling on Manipur High Court
  • Bijou Thangjam in Kannada film: Chilli Chicken
  • Do you want a "New Nagaland" ?
  • Our nurses, our future
  • Attempt to seize ancestral Meetei land
  • Significant stand of TNL
  • Relief camp @ Khundrakpam #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2023 #2: Gallery
  • Instigating violence for narrow political gain
  • Agri-Tourism: Approach to rural development
  • Manipur on the boil since May 3
  • Time for introspection on communal riot
  • Ground assessment to expose riot plotters
  • Relief camp @ Moirang #2 : Gallery
  • Appeal to people who are blocking highway
  • Plantation drive of medicinal plants
  • People spirit to help each other shone bright
  • Useful tips for healthy teeth & a happy smile
  • Suspension of internet
  • Violence subsides, tension persists
  • The Story of Leishemba : Fungga Wari #1
  • Mother's Day calls for Peace
  • Farm income through efficient farm mgmt #1
  • Nari Shakti : Empowering the Nation
  • From streets to political corridor
  • Onus on SF to justify normalcy claims
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #2
  • Impact of Internet Ban on Students
  • An open letter to citizens of Manipur
  • Help Rebuild Manipur
  • Nutrition garden for food security
  • Condemns lack of efforts by state govt
  • Curtain Story
  • Shirui Lily Fest 2022 #2 : Gallery
  • The only way forward is peaceful coexistence
  • Advancing Indo-Naga peace process
  • The courage to be 'yourself'
  • Mass culturing technique of nematode
  • 3 decades of Panchayati Raj Institutions
  • Blacking out stand of 10 MLAs
  • Need to present a strong case
  • Bye to cashless transactions for now
  • Accelerate probe into communal clash
  • Mithingai Amagi Meeshi @ Drama : Gallery
  • Fight to end corporate capture of healthcare
  • Mother to all :: Poem
  • International Nurses Day - 12 May
  • NPF condemns same sex Marriage: Azo
  • Commercialized artificial insemination in pig
  • Not all in designated camps
  • Relief camp @ Moirang #1 : Gallery
  • Mass gathering for peace & harmony at Pune
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind :: Rvw
  • 'Demographic threat' to indigenous inhabitant
  • Galvanising Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Uneasy calm as state limps back to normalcy
  • Probe inevitable to expose mayhem instigator
  • Time to focus on rehabilitation
  • Spare women and children, medical
  • Kangkum Village in Kamjong : Gallery
  • Appeal to all the people of Manipur
  • Genesis of Manipur crisis
  • Of people and communities
  • Scholarship for civil service aspirants
  • Understanding IES/ISS Examinations
  • Catalyst & solutions to ethnic clashes
  • Appeal to restore normalcy in Manipur
  • We need groundwater in Manipur
  • Just a little courage for the word 'No'
  • Working journalist movement
  • To SC against HC directive
  • 'Peace Appeal' by Women of Northeast
  • Celebrities urge national media not to publish...
  • To our Brothers and Sisters in Manipur
  • Calling for peace and relief
  • Importance of post harvest technology
  • Watermelon a Summer fruit
  • From May 3, 1993 to the present
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #1
  • Ishanou : Film recognised as World Classic
  • Meghalaya government launches helpline
  • Manipur & NE - PM's favourite on MKB
  • Comfort Zone and Days of Yore :: Poem
  • Singiri Kona, the solitude Narasimha Temple
  • Advanced INA Headquarters, Moirang #1
  • Candle light vigil at Delhi
  • Restore calm & prevent further escalation
  • Appeal to give up violence
  • Refrain from violence
  • How to go for quick revision for JEE Advanced
  • It is not Tribals Vs Meiteis
  • MANITEX @ Nilakuthi #5 : Gallery
  • Lui-ngai-ni@ Chandel #2 : Gallery
  • Khongjom Day @ Khebaching : Gallery
  • 100th Episode of 'Maan Ki Baat' : Gallery
  • Id-ul-Fitr @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Mangka tour of Switzerland & France : Gallery
  • Houses @ Thalon, Tamenglong #2 : Gallery
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023