HIGH PRIEST IN THE TEMPLE OF GG/SNSD
- Feb 27, 2007
- AFL Club
- Brisbane Lions
- Other Teams
- Luton Town
There will always be debate about who the GOAT is and Messi is now absolutely at the heart of the conversation.
I'd be quite happy to nominate Maradona and Messi as joint GOATs but if I had to pick one, I'd go with Diego.
I've already seen articles proclaiming Messi as the undisputed GOAT but that just illustrates how quickly people forget about past greats.
There is one outstanding reason why I'd place Diego above - and only just above - Lionel:
Maradona almost single-handedly led Napoli to two championships in what was the best and most competitive league at the time - Serie A. A significant point to make note of is that Napoli were a mid-table side before Diego joined them. The modern equivalent in the EPL - the best league these days - would be for a player to join, say, West Ham, and lead them to two EPL titles.
Messi, on the other hand, has only ever played for teams that were full of stars and have therefore been dominant in their respective leagues at the time - Barcelona in La Liga and Paris St Germain in Ligue 1.
Youngsters - including young journalists - these days don't seem to realise just how good Maradona was. Perhaps a look back at two of the greatest goals in World Cup history might be helpful:
1986 Quarter-Final against England:
Maradona wonder goal v England Mexico 86 - Víctor Hugo Morales commentary - HD
1986 Semi-Final against Belgium:
Diego Maradona vs Belgium - WC Mexico 1986 #GreatestWorldCupGoals
Look, it is very subjective, let's agree to start with.
Football in the late 80's and Maradona bear further examination though.
Sure, there were "mega-clubs", insofar as many things went undocumented re: player payments. And Maradona wasn't the type to do things anyone's way but his, let's recall. It's difficult to argue he was a team player, but perhaps he didn't need to be.
What he needed was a club who would do it his way - hence why other big clubs were wary of him. Plus, he came with baggage.
Napoli never got to a CL final - back then, domestic success > CL success, but that all changed.
Messi has contended with the expectation of club domestic, club int'l and country intl success for almost a decade. I wonder if Maradona could, even with modern fitness standards, demonstrate the mental fortitude to get up so often and deliver at least as often as not (as shown by Messi's career MoM stats, which shows he has won about 51%).
All other things aside, he gets my nod simply because he has demonstrated utmost professionalism at most times, certainly as regards his personal habits anyway. And he has been prepared to work for the team rather than his own glory.