Lionel Messi is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and is considered by many, as the best player of his generation and one of the best footballers of all times
Here are five reasons to back-up this claim.
The ability to dribble can often be the difference maker in a game. Of course, players like Cristiano Ronaldo have other ways to make the difference, but even in tight spaces, Messi can always find a way to escape his marker and create danger.
The Argentinian is arguably still the best dribbler in the world, alongside new Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. These two have so often fooled defenders, sending them the wrong way.
As a matter of fact, Lionel Messi has completed the highest number of successful dribbles (560) in Europe’s top 5 leagues since 2013/14.
Despite having young competitors with extremely high potential such as Neymar JR, what sets Lionel Messi apart from the moment is his mentality. The Barcelona star has had years of glory at the top level and has been through all different type of moments that a footballer can experience.
Messi has enough composure to retain his calmness during the big games, and not get lured into any sort of altercation with the opposition. To put things into perspective, the footballing genius has represented Barcelona on more than 500 occasions and wore Argentina’s shirt in more than matches. Having won all possible cups with the Catalans, Messi maintains the hunger of a 20-year old with his impeccable attitude of never skipping training and trying to surpass himself every single season.
At the same time, Leo has the experience of a veteran. Not losing his temper nor his concentration, have been essential factors in helping Messi stay at the top level. Talent alone is not always enough, but when you merge footballing abilities with an excellent attitude, this is when you reach excellence, which Barca’s number ten no doubt is.
#3 Passing skills
Lionel Messi is an attacker, but that does not prevent him from being one of the best passers in the game. He is on the same level in terms of play-making skills, if not even better, than some of Europe’s best European central midfielders.
The Argentinian can organise play, lead the build-up phase, or even launch his teammates by setting them up with clear-cut chances in front of the goalkeeper. The Barcelona star is considered one of the best assist-providers in the world, at the moment.
Besides being the highest top scorer in La Liga history, Messi is also the player who provided the highest number of assists. He is just scarily good, isn’t he?
#2 Decision making
To take the best decision in the final third, is often what sets apart raw talent from world class players. Lionel Messi almost always comes up with the appropriate step. The Argentinian knows exactly when to dribble, when to pass, when to shoot and when to go all the way, dribbling himself to the goalkeeper’s territory.
Once a footballer reaches this stage of maturity, he gains the ability to put his talent into good use, in the best possible way, instead of wasting his abilities in vain. Messi has shown to be versatile enough to operate as the play-maker and set up his teammates, as well as to be the central attacker who is responsible for finding the back of the net. ‘La pulga’, makes the right step at the right moment.
Being one of the best dribblers and passers in the world is nice and all, but unless you can back it up with stats, you hardly get the recognition you deserve in modern-day football. And Lionel Messi, does just that.