Joe Cole was a great player.
The Englishman made a name for himself at West Ham before moving to Chelsea in 2003.
Cole enjoyed great success at Chelsea as he helped the club to seven major titles in seven years.
Steven Gerrard is one player who saw Cole up close.
The Liverpool legend played against Cole in the Premier League for much of his career.
He also spent many years with Cole when they joined up for England duty.
So, when Liverpool ended up signing Cole in 2010, Gerrard was ecstatic.
In fact, he was so happy, that he said that his compatriot was better than 2009 Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.
Speaking to Match of the Day magazine, Gerrard said, per ESPN: “Messi can do some amazing things, but anything he can do Joe can do as well, if not better.”
He added: “He used to shock us in training by doing footy tricks with a golf ball that most players can’t even do with a football.
“I really fancy Joe for the [player of the year] award this season.”
No, this isn’t a fake quote. Cole was a good player, but better than Messi?
Gerrard’s comments would have raised a few eyebrows at the time.
After all, Messi had just scored 47 goals in 53 games for Barcelona during the 2009/10 season, while Cole had only managed two goals in 39 games for Chelsea.
And Cole wouldn’t live up to Gerrard’s expectations at Liverpool, either.
His time at Liverpool got off to a bad start when he was sent off on his league debut against Arsenal.
He managed just three goals in 32 games in 2010/11 as the Reds finished sixth in the Premier League.
And, after that poor first season at the club, he was shipped out on loan to Lille.
Messi, meanwhile, has gone on to become arguably the greatest player of all-time.
We appreciate Gerrard was excited about the transfer and was probably looking to boost Cole’s confidence as he joined the club.
But his comments were ridiculous then and they look even more laughable now.
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