Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers of all time, if not the best. He has given us many unforgettable moments over the past 18 years and picked up every trophy imaginable in that time.
The diminutive Argentine has mesmerised crowds with his spectacular ability, which we may never see again. Although he and Diego Maradona may have a similar playing style, the sheer number of seasons that Messi has been the best, and how he has done it, will never be matched. Will Messi be hanging up his boots soon with the World Cup about to end?
You may hear many fans throw around the phrase ‘completed football’. Of course, it’s impossible to complete a never-ending game that will continue long after a footballer finishes playing. There’s an infinite amount of accolades to win, and no player could possibly win everything. However, if Messi beats the odds for the World Cup 2022, where France is favoured 5/6 to win the final over them, many will consider him the greatest of all time.
There are plenty of fans who already think there’s nobody better than Messi. Even if he doesn’t win the World Cup like Maradona and Pele, he has already done enough and showcased plenty of ability to show he’s the best. He has seven Ballon d’Ors (the most in history), four Champions Leagues, 11 league titles and a Copa America with his beloved Argentina. If anybody else matches that list of accolades, you could safely say that the player has also ‘completed football’.
The grind of a professional season
Messi’s love for the game and desire to win has driven him to extraordinary heights. However, summoning up the ambition to get up every day and put in the work gets tiring after 18 years of playing professionally. For nearly two decades, he’s been the centre of the footballing world, with everybody watching a critiquing his every move.
His move to PSG, although creating a dream trio of Neymar, Messi and Kylian Mbappé, he did not look at home last season. He has come back to near his best this year but still seems a bit off from what he was at Barcelona. Playing for Argentina reignites that fire; you can see in his play that he is a better player when he has that passion. You can’t blame him, but after the World Cup, the game may not dangle that metaphorical carrot in front of him to keep the fire burning inside.
Go out on top
He will go out on top whether or not he wins the World Cup. His play in the tournament has been nothing short of astonishing. He has created, scored, been the heart of his team and delivered iconic moments to lift his team to victory.
Playing like the legend he is, nothing in club football will ever again compare to what he is achieving with Argentina. Whether he stays at PSG for a few more years, goes to America, or finishes when the season is over, Messi will still be one of the best players in the world when he hangs them up.
Messi has given us so much to love about football. He has inspired generations of footballers to be like him. However, there will never be another Messi. He’s one of a kind and we should appreciate him until he calls it a career.