Lionel Messi remains one of the greatest footballers ever to play the game in spite of Argentina’s 1-0 defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil.
The general consensus seemed to be that only by firing Alejandro Sabella’s side to glory could he stake a claim to be considered as the best footballer of all time. But given his achievements at Barcelona, his place amongst the footballing gods is still assured.
Messi's club achievements
Whilst Diego Maradona delivered the World Cup in 1986, the Argentinean legend never once lifted the European Cup, the biggest prize in club football. He also failed to win the Copa Libertadores during his playing days in South America.
Maradona was the shadow that Messi struggled to emerge from in Brazil. He may have somewhat surprisingly received the Golden Ball award, but despite finding the net on four occasions, he looked a far cry from the player that has enchanted over on Spanish shores.
Sunday’s defeat in the Maracana will no doubt haunt him for the remainder of his days barring a triumph in Russia in four years time, but Messi has nothing to prove to anybody.
Nothing to prove
This is a player that tops his club’s all-time scoring charts at the age of just 27. He has scored in two Champions League final successes, as well as playing a major part in six La Liga title triumphs.
His rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo has been mesmerising at times, with the pair having hit levels that have never been hit before. The Portuguese star is also deserving of his place in the sport’s hall of fame.
And in spite of never quite hitting top gear, only Colombia’s James Rodriguez and Germany’s Thomas Muller outscored Messi at this year’s finals.
His winner in Argentina’s opening game against Bosnia and Herzegovina was majestic – as was his stunning late winner to put to bed a stubborn Iran side.
Nigeria were bettered by his magic as he scored twice, whilst he also provided the assist for Angel di Maria’s dramatic late strike to beat Switzerland in the last 16 as the tournament entered its crunch stages.
Messi failed to score as the tournament reached its knockout stages, but he did keep his cool to score in the penalty shoot-out that ended Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side’s hopes of reaching consecutive finals.
The defeat will hurt the Argentine the most of all, but should not be used as an opportunity to belittle him. His talents are well documented and nothing shall ever muddy the name etched into the pages of footballing history.
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