Messi ends the GOAT debate



Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup after a dominant performance against France in the final.

Eamon Carew, Editor-in-Chief

Gonzalo Montiel’s winning penalty kick in the World Cup Final on Dec. 18, 2022 was the cause of death for France’s campaign. It was also the killshot, to many, of the greatest of all time debate. The shooter, put into position by Lionel Messi’s brilliant World Cup display and pair of goals in the final, took aim at Cristiano Ronaldo. The autopsy was conducted just over two weeks later. The findings were damning, Montiel’s shot rifled through Ronaldo’s GOAT case, which flatlined as he landed in Saudi Arabia, pronounced dead on the scene as he signed for Al Nassr.

Messi’s greatness was recognized early on, as just a 12-year-old playing in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina when he signed his contract with FC Barcelona on a napkin in a cafeteria. It would be 5 years before he made his senior debut in 2005. His greatest competitor, the only one who was on the horizon of challenging his greatness, was Ronaldo. Signing for Manchester United in 2003, he would win multiple Premier League Titles, Golden Boots, the Champions League and eventually the 2008 Ballon d’Or. With one at the peak of football and the other on the rise as a sensation, the 2009 Champions League Final was a litmus test on if Messi was the best player in the world and had surpassed his Portuguese rival.

With 20 minutes to spare, the little Argentine forward found himself on the blindside of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand. He floated a delectable header past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, grabbing the most illustrious club trophy for FC Barcelona. On the opposite side, Ronaldo’s biggest impact was failing to convert a chance late on and a vicious yellow card offense on Carles Puyol.

Thus the dominance of the eventual greatest began, sweeping the Ballon d’Or from 2009-2012, winning another Champions League, two European Golden Shoes and matching his 4-year streak of Ballon d’Ors with an identical streak of Champions League Golden Boots. The magic man scored 91 goals in a calendar year, an inconceivable feat and a staggering record that has the potential to stand for decades. He has won the World Cup, Finalissima and Copa America. His records are staggering, he is without doubt the greatest of all time. I could sit here and list every accolade, record, trophy and statistic possible for Lionel Messi, but it pales in comparison to watching him play.

He is beautiful. He is to the pinpoint of the definition of the word, brilliant. Every time he touches a ball, millions are awestruck. Fans watch patiently, waiting for any sort of magic which he produces. They bounce their legs nervously, some shout in disbelief at his play, others fall backwards onto their couches, in pure shock of his ability.

“How do you measure somebody that could balance a balloon, in a wind tunnel, on a needle?” Commentator Ray Hudson said. “Because Messi is capable of that.” That is what separates Messi from the rest, he is simply not only the greatest player of all time, he is the best player of all time.