Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Messi outshines them all

It is easy for me to accept that professional football players can do things on the pitch that I could only dream of. This is easy because I accepted the fact, long ago, that I am not very good. I wonder however, whether some of the top players in the world can accept the same thing when comparing themselves with Leo Messi.

The main reason that Messi is so extraordinary to watch, is that he has the ability to combine effective close control dribbling with very high speed. This is where Messi defies the logic which limits virtually everyone else; close control and speed do not mix. Look at players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka or even Steven Gerrard, great players with the ball at speed - direct, powerful and effective, but the pace at which they run means that they tend to push the ball quite far ahead of themselves before chasing it down. This technique can obviously still be devastating when players like Ronaldo drive into space or through a gap in a defensive line. These players however do not have a choice, they simply cannot do what Messi can with the ball. Messi doesn't need a clear gap, because of his exceptional control while dribbling he can zig-zag his way through a defence via a path which only he seems capable of navigating. I sometimes wonder whether Torres, Drogba and co sit at home watching Lionel Messi on television and think to themselves 'I wish I could do that'.

Messi is not only a brilliant dribbler, he is a great passer, fantastic at linking play and superb at creating chances for others. On top of all that, he is also a composed and deadly finisher. This season, Messi has scored 34 league goals in Spain, earning him the European Golden Shoe award and equalling Barcelona's club record for the most amount of goals scored in a season, set by Ronaldo in the 1996/97 season. He has scored more goals in this season's Champions League than any other player (so far), and has amassed an amazing 47 goals in all competitions.

Quite simply, the 2009/10 season has been dominated by the diminutive Argentinian, and everything is now set up perfectly for the World Cup in South Africa. On 11 June 2010, the world's best players will meet, and will be joined by arguably the best ever, Lionel Messi. Its going to be quite a show!

Watch Messi's goals against Zaragoza from earlier this season

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