Lionel Messi, four times World Footballer of the Year, three times Champions League winner, five times La Liga winner (soon to be six times) has had quite an incredible career.

There have been a few doubts about him this season though, a few niggling injuries also. Barcelona haven’t dominated Europe this season, losing away to Celtic, Milan and Bayern Munich and they are already out of the Copa Del Rey, however let’s not forget they have blown opposition away in the La Liga, with the title just about sewn up.

It is easy to criticise Messi for not being as good as last year.

Whatever happens for the reminder of this year and for the rest of this young man’s career, it is highly unlikely we are going to see him score 91 goals in a calendar year again. With that being said and Barcelona looking distinct average everywhere but in the La Liga this season, has too much pressure been placed on Messi’s shoulders as everyone expects him to score 70+ goals a season now or are we seeing a player that peaked so early that he is never going to be able to re-discover his former self?

The real question is how can he get any better; is it possible for him to get any better, is the only way for Messi down?

He is still only 25, and hasn’t actually reached the average age most players tend to peak at. I feel he is going to find it increasingly difficult to live up to the expectations and levels he has set himself over the past five years.Whilst it is difficult to compare him to that of former Barcelona maestro Ronaldinho, whose career at the top wound down due to his love of a nightclub, it is easy to compare him to that of Kaka’. Kaka’ had a wonderful career at Milan, technically brilliant, like Messi, he could change a game with the click of his fingers, he won a Champions League and a Serie A title to name a few, whilst at Milan.

He has dedicated his life to football, and is a great role model to children and youngsters alike, due to his attitude and behaviour. Now 31, ever since Kaka’ departed Milan, a mixture of injuries and lack of playing time have seen him fall from grace and is no longer talked about as one of the best in the world. He peaked at an early age and because of it, he has been unable to reach those standards he set himself again.   

With a season which has by no means been Messi’s best, it could be a worry that what happened with Kaka’ may yet occur with the current world’s best. He has won everything he possibly can at club level, he has yet to shine on the international stage as Argentina have been going through somewhat of an uneasy phase of late. All he needs to win to complete his career now is a Copa America and a World Cup.

Let’s not forget, however; Messi is a class act and this could just be a minor blip that every player goes through at some point in their career. It is by no-means saying he is ‘past it’ and for anybody to say that about a 25-year-old is quite frankly ludicrous.

Yet, whilst we may well have seen the best of Lionel Messi, he will continue to be top quality - expect his title as world’s best to come under some serious threat in the not so near future.

 

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