When I worked as a journalist in the 90s, I ended up in many late discussions after the big matches around the delicate issue of who is the best footballer in the world ever.
I always said Maradona – and that is still my answer. The way Maradona dominated the World Cup 1986 is unbeatable, and it is the World Cup that judge a player, if he gets eternal glory or not; at least in my book.
Maradona played every single minute for Argentina in the World Cup 1986 and scored five goals and made five assists, including the goal of the century against England. I doubt any player in the future will be able to dominate a tournament like Maradona did; remember that football was very tactical and defensive at that time as well.
Lionel Messi’s four goals against Arsenal (Lionel Messi (4) Barcelona – Arsenal Champions League 2010) is the talk of the town today and it was a smashing performance to say the last; Messi is only 22 but has already scored more Champions League goals than any other Barcelona player. His magic feet and goals makes him the biggest artist on the planet right now all categories inlcuded.
So who are the best players in the world currently? Here is my top-3 list as we speak:
Or as our bookmaker Richie Sheridan puts it:
“I thought he would score at least 3 maybe he could get 4. How did he do? Messi conjoured magic not seen since Merlin was around. Mourinho will need all his ‘specialness’ to stop the little master but surely he and the football world are still in wonder at a tapestry of soccer as woven by Lionel Messi, thank you sir it was an honour.”
Come summer we might find Messi taking on the lead-role in South Africa, but it will be a test during four long weeks and I wonder if he already is up to the challenge.