Will 2018 be Messi’s Best Year Ever?

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For the record, I don’t think Lionel Messi has to win a World Cup to be considered the best ever. You may think that winning a World Cup is a resumé booster for Messi like it was for Maradona, Ronaldo (R9) and Zidane, but Messi’s already in the same company as those legends. I do think that Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest coup could make 2018 the most important year of Messi’s career. After Real Madrid won the Champions League on Sunday, I talked about how the Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate had reached its peak. Ronaldo scored two goals in the final after scoring a combined eight goals against Bayern Munich and Atletico de Madrid. Any doubt that he won’t win his fifth Ballon D’Or in 2017, equaling Messi, has been squashed. And after helping destroy Juventus in Cardiff, Ronaldo was named cover athlete for EA Sports’ FIFA 18, the most popular video game on the planet. I don’t think Messi cares considering he just opened his own theme park in China. Let’s pretend he does. Are Ronaldo’s latest accomplishments setting up 2018 as the Year of Messi?

With a World Cup next summer, Argentina’s number 10 will have one final opportunity to win the trophy that many fans and pundits believe he has to have to truly become immortalized. Historically, Messi and Ronaldo have traded yearly “best in the world” honors, so it’s not a stretch to say that Messi could surpass Ronaldo’s heroic 2017 performance. Last summer when Messi lost his second consecutive Copa América as Argentina captain, Ronaldo answered by winning the European Cup with Portugal. In La Liga, if Ronaldo scores a brace against Celta, Messi will score three against Espanyol.

From the couch, we the fans benefit most from this manufactured competition between the two megastars. They’re complete opposites of each other, as evidenced in how we praise the two. After an extraordinary performance for Barcelona, Messi is often hailed as the best player ever. A humble alien that’s descended upon the sport to change it forever. We stand in awe of his incredible performances. We marvel about his touch, creativity, and natural-born talent. His lack of height and unassuming personality make Messi the working man’s hero. Yet he’s considered incomparable, although I’d argue that Maradona was just as mystical a player. Messi scored 37 goals to Ronaldo’s 25 in La Liga this season and earned his fourth Pichichi title. Ronaldo currently has three league-scoring titles.

Embed from Getty ImagesBut we look at Ronaldo as a goal-scoring machine and a record-breaker. A physical specimen that combines speed and power to overwhelm his opponents on the ground and in the air. There’s this perception that he’s had to work harder to be the player he is today. He’s considered arrogant, self-serving and from the cheap seats, we call him a bad teammate. The best player to ever wear a Real Madrid jersey has made us obsessed with data and heat maps. After he surpassed the century mark for goals scored in Europe, we analyzed his numbers, not his performances.

Next summer in Russia, Messi and Ronaldo will play in their final World Cup. I’ll assume both Argentina and Portugal qualify, although both squads have plenty of work still to do. Their performances in Russia will be judged and compared, yet for some reason (perhaps because of Maradona) Messi has far more pressure to lift a World Cup trophy than Ronaldo. Why is that? Portugal will arrive in Russia as the reigning European champions. Argentina have underperformed, underwhelmed and currently sit in 5th place in South America, the Region’s home-and-home playoff position. Despite the likes of Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria and Messi, Argentina struggle to score and their style of play is undefined. Hiring Jorge Sampaoli was a deliberate attempt to right the ship. The former Sevilla boss will be expected to inject the squad with energy and pace, freeing Messi of the burden of having to do it all. In his first test as national team manager, Sampaoli will face Argentina’s eternal rivals Brazil in a friendly in Melbourne.

In 2018, the world will wait and see if Messi can outduel Ronaldo categorically and put the debate to rest for good. So let’s debate: does Messi have to win a World Cup to be considered the best ever? Does Ronaldo? Let me know in the comments.





4 thoughts on “Will 2018 be Messi’s Best Year Ever?

  1. Hi

    I think both have to win the world cup. Not just because the best players of the world are supposed to do it but because both have excellent teams. But Messi has more chance with Argentina that CR7 with Portugal.
    I think that compare between those two is not the correct way to see it. I will love to see numbers, statics and opinions about comparing for example Messi with Ronaldinho or CR7 with Pele.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is finally the first article that gets it. It gets the issue. This is about an era where no other players from this generation will be remembered but Messi and Ronaldo. They will go down in history as sport’s greatest football rivalry, over a decade long era. It will culminate in next year’s world cup in Russia, where Messi will win the World Cup to go down as the victor and the greatest player of all time in football. Messi will win on socialist soil both because of the universalist socialistic transformation of the one world system of postmodern vacuosness, and for the first time he won gold for his country in 2008- also on socialist soil.

    Hang on for the ride.

    As for why Messi will go down as the Greatest of all time and not Ronaldo? Remember: since 2008, these two have been at it, yes, BUT, Ronaldo has only risen to Messi’s level because of being able to win trophies in other contexts (Premier League and La Liga) as well as for his country. The actual stats show Messi is actually streets ahead of not just Ronaldo but almost every other player in this generation (see sites like FiveThirtyEight or just watch every single individual highlights video of both these two players from the past 10 years). Yet, Ronaldo has been able to flick himself into contention as Messi’s foil only by virtue of the number of goals and assists stats, as well as his individual hard work and dedication and ego (obsession- watch the tragic film he put out after Messi’s film was made by others about him).

    Nonetheless, everything Messi does is just that much better. Messi not only equals or sometimes betters Ronaldo’s goal and assists stats, but trumps him in every other playmaking and overall play stat; not to mention speed of decision-making. Don’t get me wrong, Messi is equally arrogant at times, as vacuous and nihilistic as well as narcissistic at times (nowhere near Ronaldo’s proportions), but he does every single thing just that much better: When Ronaldo wins 5 Balon Dors to level with Messi; Messi will win his 6th after winning World Cup 2018. When Ronaldo wins Euros, Messi wins the WC. When Real Madrid and Barcelona exchange era dominating runs, Messi’s era just comes out trumps. Ronaldo has children without a mother, Messi honours the institution of marriage that God has established. Messi always, always, always, does just that much better.

    If Ronaldo is a greek demi-idol, worshipped, Messi plays the antii-hero- the common man, the family man, the small sized one. If Ronaldo is the Heruclean hunk of a Goliath machine, Messi is the dashing, ruddy but good looking short but despised, yet soon to be King David who uses five stones to slay the ones who seek to crush him, and trusts in God.

    And that my friends is why Lionel Messi will win World Cup 2018. It is almost meant to be- a predestination text almost….It is why God allows CR7 to win 9 trophies in a matter of months in 2016/17, even while playing terribly throughout until the last months of the season. It is because we are bracing for the grande finale of this titanic tussle: emblematically glimpsed and showcased in April 2017’s El Clasico- where Messi was the lamb that was beaten and whacked and bloodied, but came through and scored the two goals to win the match and shame and silence the Bernabeu. That was the curtainraiser for the World Cup 2018 finale. Next June, not only will you see Messi play out his final season this year in Barcelona (I believe he will emulate Steve McManaman by doing a Bosman which will be tolerated only on the grounds of his past service to FCB over the past 20 years) with humiliation, but there and then, is when he will rise in July to win WC2018.

    My friend, if you fail to see the David v Goliath narrative and meta narrative of this incredible tale, you are missing the point of the picture of this whole saga. It is to remind the world that there is a God. He is the God of the Bible, His name is Jesus Christ, and He was bloodied as a lamb for the salvation as the Messiah who is greater than David, and the Only who takes away the sins of the world through His laying down of His life as a payment to ransom every one who believes in Him and what He has done from the clutches of Satan, sin and death, but His own death of crucifixion, and the resurrection to show the world that He is indeed God, and He will come again to rule and judge the earth He made. Messi knows he is not God, and that football is just a sport. Messi knows he is not the Messiah. He points to God in the sky when he scores. Don’t miss the narrative. Now don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying Messi is a prophet or some kind of deity or some kind of divine revelation being- NO! Messi is just a fallen, sinful human like everyone. But, God is sovereign over human history, and in a socialistic postmodern neo-pagan Europe which worships footballers and football as “gods” today, God lets everyone see through Messi v Ronaldo that the age old principles that God has established on the earth won’t ever change. He has always chosen the line of David. And Christ Jesus is the greatest and true fulfillment of Davidic kingship because Christ is the true King. That said, a Messi is a kind of David-esque example vis-a-vis Ronaldo. And that is why Messi will go down as the greatest player in history next July 2018. This is the first article I have read which “gets” it.


    • An interesting metaphor, Boon. And a bold guarantee that Argentina will win the World Cup in Russia. We shall see.


    • Hey
      I am not sure to agree with you in all that Messi do best than CR7.
      But do you really think the current Argentina Team has the guts and the talent to win the WC ? This means they has to defeay Germany, Brasil, Belgium or Spain. Messi has to win the WC to be the greatest player ever, I just dont think he has the team to do it.
      It is most likely to see Portugal on the final of the WC.
      But I can not make my mind about a WC finnal whith Portugal against Argentina. If this happen can you imagen this soccer match…or can you picture it without Messi and CR7 because of a injury or red card? It will be like whatchig any MLS match


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