When Lionel Messi finally lifted the World Cup trophy in Lusail, many fans believe that the G.O.A.T debate is over.
As Lionel Messi finally lifted the FIFA World Cup trophy — the ultimate prize that has eluded him throughout his career — his case to be the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) became stronger than ever.
Not winning the World Cup has often been cited as the biggest missing piece in his career, but not anymore. Like Diego Maradona, Messi almost single-handedly dragged Argentina to the title.
Long before Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the argument over who is the Greatest Of All Time was dominated by the likes of Pele and Maradona.
Pele’s exploits for Brazil and Santos earned him the nickname O Rei (”The King”), as he helped the Selecao dominate world football from the late 1950s into the early 70s.
Pele was football’s first global superstar. He averaged just about a goal per game throughout his entire career, scoring goals for fun.
He was also very creative, with 8 assists in his World Cup career. Till date, he is the only player who has won the FIFA World Cup thrice (1958, 1962, 1970) — doing so in just 4 attempts!!!
Diego Maradona G.O.A.T?
For Diego Maradona, while his goal output may not be mind-blowing like others; his case to be the G.O.A.T is based on how extremely talented he was. Viewers watched him with awe.
Moreso, Maradona always rose to the occasion. His exploits at the 1986 FIFA World Cup is widely considered to be the greatest individual performance in a football tournament.
His most memorable goals came in the tournament’s quarter-final showdown with England. The infamous ”hand of god” goal was followed by an outrageous solo goal known as the ”Goal of the Century”.
Furthermore, Maradona was the first player to set the world record transfer fee twice: first in 1982 when he transferred to Barcelona for £5 million, and again in 1984 when he moved to Napoli for a fee of £6.9 million.
At Napoli, he is considered an idol.
Johan Cruyff G.O.A.T?
Johan Cruyff’s influence on football — apart from his enormous talent — brings him into the equation.
He was the progenitor of “total football” — along with coach Rinus Michels.
Cruyff was defined by his positional versatility and tactical nous. He also became one of the best managers ever.
Johan Cruyff won the Ballon d’Or three times.
Other players who are up for the G.O.A.T debate include (and not limited to): Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo de Lima, Gerd Müller, Alfredo Di Stefano, Michel Platini and Franz Beckenbauer.
Cristiano Ronaldo G.O.A.T?
In the last two decades, Cristiano Ronaldo has rubbed shoulders with Messi as the best soccer star on the planet.
Ronaldo started his career as a flamboyant winger, but later transformed into a goal-scoring behemoth in his peak years.
CR7 is the ultimate goal machine, arguably the greatest goalscorer ever.
He perfected the art of finishing — whether be it with both feet, the head or any part of his body!!!
Over his career, he has won every personal and club accolade available — including 5 Ballon d’Or awards.
He led Portugal to an improbable victory at Euro 2016 and has won 32 trophies in his career so far.
Furthermore, Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for the most international goals by a male soccer player (118).
Lionel Messi G.O.A.T?
For many, Lionel Messi is the best of his generation — and best ever!
He has won a record 7 Ballon d’Or awards and has the most individual awards in football history.
Some regard him has a much more better team player (or all-rounder) than Ronaldo. The Argentine can simply do things that nobody else on the planet can do.
During his time at Barcelona, Messi scored an incredible 672 goals in just 778 matches — helping Barca win 10 La Liga and 4 UEFA Champions League titles.
Furthermore, he helped Argentina win the Copa América for the first time since 1993.
Lionel Messi further boosted his chances of being regarded as the G.O.A.T on Sunday as Argentina beat France on penalties after a pulsating 3-3 draw in the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
His brace in the final saw him become the only player in World Cup history to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and final!!!
Additionally, he won Golden Ball and the Silver Boot. He is now on course for an unprecedented 8th Ballon d’Or award.
Prior to this triumph, Argentina last won the FIFA World Cup in 1986 — inspired by Diego Maradona.
After losing in the final of the 2014 World Cup to Germany, there were doubts that Messi would ever reach the heights of Pele and Maradona.
But when the Argentine magician finally lifted the World Cup trophy in Lusail, many fans believe that he has also settled the G.O.A.T debate — once and for all.
Nevertheless, the debate will still somehow linger on forever. It is impossible say who is the G.O.A.T without arguments. Different people will always have their own favourite.
The era/generation each football played in, their talent, individual & team achievements as well as impacts on football will always polarise opinions.
Kylian Mbappe a future G.O.A.T?
On the stage where Lionel Messi made his greatest claim to being the G.O.A.T; his likeliest challenger (in the future) took a bow…..
Although Messi and Argentina stole the headlines, Kylian Mbappe showed how good he is as he became just the second player ever to score an hat-trick in a World Cup final.
Argentina were leading until the last 10 minutes when Mbappe turned the game on its head within 97 seconds.
First with a well taken penalty, and then with a brilliant first-time finish.
Even after Messi scored what appeared like the winner in extra-time, the Frenchman won and converted another penalty!
He proved his mettle once again in the shootout by scoring France’s first spot kick in what is simply the greatest game in FIFA World Cup history — or better still, the greatest football match ever played.
Furthermore, Mbappe beat Messi to the World Cup Golden Boot after finishing the tournament on 8 goals.
The France forward is still only 23, but now has more goals in the World Cup final (4) than any player in history. A legend in the making!
At Russia 2018, he became the only teenager other than Pele to score in a World Cup final.
With age by his side, Kylian Mbappe has enough time to put himself right up there as one of the greatest players in football history.
But for now, so many believe that the G.OA.T debate is over. That Lionel Messi is the undisputed NUMBER ONE…..EVER!
Do you agree?