“Having the privilege of watching Lionel Messi play for nearly two decades is truly remarkable. Each moment, captivating, thrilling, and mesmerizing. He is a gift from the footballing gods. Delighted to see him lift our sport’s highest award. Gracias y felicidades, campeón.”
Former Barcelona striker, Gary Lineker, has always been a staunch advocate and defender of Messi, to the extent that some critics accused him of bias in his BBC Sport broadcasts. However, his post-World Cup final tribute to the Argentine captain was perfect.
It’s impossible not to be moved seeing Messi lift the solitary trophy he has longed for in Qatar. He fell short with Argentina in the 2014 final, and since his debut in 2005 with flowing locks, he’s struggled under the weight of immense international expectations.
Continued in the next section.
Messi’s incredible performances throughout his 21-year career at Barcelona earned him seven Ballon d’Or titles, along with numerous La Liga and Champions League titles. However, there were always doubters regarding his status as the greatest player of all time due to his World Cup challenges.
All doubts were finally put to rest in the 2022 World Cup when Messi led the Argentine national team to victory in the Middle East. Argentina’s coach, Lionel Scaloni, was fortunate to have an excellent squad, with key contributions from players like Angel Di Maria, Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernandez, Cristian Romero, and the brilliant goalkeeper Emi Martinez.
But it was Messi who inspired the team. He consistently provided moments of magic, seeking goals or game-changing plays, and keeping the team together during tough times.
It was truly astonishing to witness him unleash his creative genius and to see him revel in the joy of his greatest career achievement when it was all said and done. Messi has completed his footballing journey and almost certainly secured his eighth Ballon d’Or.
Erling Haaland undoubtedly deserves consideration for the 2023 award after guiding Manchester City to a treble in his debut season at the Etihad, a feat made all the more impressive by Messi’s inability to replicate similar success at Paris Saint-Germain.
But the reality is, there’s no comparison in terms of individual performance. Messi once again proved to be the world’s best player in the 2022-2023 season, as GOAL outlines below…