For the fourth consecutive year, FIFA’s annual year end awards ended with Lionel Messi taking the plaudits and the player of the year award. However, more than in any other year, many are claiming that Cristiano Ronaldo deserved to win the award. So, why did Messi pip Ronaldo to the title, was it because Messi is more likable? In my opinion, Messi’s place as the world’s best player is undisputed.
Messi scored ninety-one goals in the year of 2012, ninety-one. As I’m sure you know this is a tally higher than any other player has managed to score after Messi surpassed legendary German striker of the late 1960’s and 1970’s Gerd Muller, who held the previous record at 85 goals in the year 1972. Many felt in this day and age of highly tactically prepared defences, the record would never be broken, but it was. I don’t care who you are, when Lionel Messi gets the ball, you know you are in some trouble.
Those who say Messi is not the world’s best player often use his lack of success at international level as their evidence to disagree. That evidence has now gone out of the window in my opinion due to Messi’s spellbinding performances in 2012 with Argentina.
One particularly incredible game that sticks out from Messi in the blue and white stripes of Argentina was their ‘friendly’ (although games between the two are never particularly) against Brazil in June. In the game, Messi ran the Brazilian defence which included the ‘world’s best left back’ Marcelo, Rafael Da Silva and Juan absolutely ragged.
Messi got another hat trick against Switzerland, his then first for Argentina back in February 2012, while he also put in a tremendous performance against Paraguay. Anyone who still insists Messi cannot play well without Xavi, Andres Iniesta and the rest of Barcelona’s key players have clearly not been paying much attention to his recent exploits at international level.
Before anyone starts to think it, let’s get it clear; I do not resent Cristiano Ronaldo in any way. If he was born in any different era, except for maybe the 1960’s when Pele was at his best, he would be a worthy winner each and every year. To be honest, the way in which Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to their first La Liga title since the 2007/2008 season made me feel less sure of Messi’s place as the world’s best player.
Many claim Ronaldo should win as his side had a more successful 2012 in terms of trophies. But would that stop Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao from getting in front of say, Robert Lewandowski even though Lewandowski won the Bundesliga? No, and Messi and his fellow Barcelona attacking players are not responsible for Barcelona losing out to Madrid in the La Liga title race last season, that happened because Barcelona conceded far too many goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a spectacular year with Real Madrid and Portugal, he deserves all the plaudits he has and will receive. Yet, Lionel Messi was so immense and so unstoppable at times in 2012 that I see no reason why Messi’s crown can be taken away from him.
Although I was not alive during the heydays of Maradona and Pele, I believe Messi has made a phenomenal case throughout 2012 for being considered the best to ever kick a football. A complete magician.
Written by Joshua Sodergren
Follow him on Twitter @chelsealad1365
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