Tom Brady’s seventh Super Bowl triumph has sparked debate about where the NFL star ranks in terms of the greatest sporting stars in history.
The 43-year-old is regarded by many as the greatest NFL player of all time, while boxer Manny Pacquiao crowned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback as “sports’ GOAT” on Twitter.
But who is the GOAT (greatest of all time) when it comes to football?
The vast majority of football fans would name one of the following legends: Pele, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Alfredo Di Stefano, Johan Cruyff and possibly Zinedine Zidane would also get a few mentions.
However, the NFL caused a stir during Sunday night’s Super Bowl by naming Messi as football’s GOAT.
Brady was named NFL’s GOAT, Michael Jordan NBA’s, while the title of NHL GOAT went to Wayne Gretzky.
On the right-hand side of the graphic was Messi.
Fair enough, many would argue. Although it was the achievement under his name which raised eyebrows.
Messi was named football’s GOAT by the NFL on the basis that he’s won the Champions League four times.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, has won football’s most prestigious club trophy on five occasions.
In fact, several other footballers have won the Champions League five times, including Paolo Maldini and Di Stefano.
Real Madrid legend Francisco Gento, meanwhile, lifted the European Cup a record six times.
Perhaps if the NFL had put ‘Six-time Ballon d’Or winner’ underneath Messi’s name, it would have been more understandable.
But some of Ronaldo’s fans were quick to point out to the NFL that their hero has more Champions League titles than Barcelona’s Argentine forward…
Is Messi really football’s GOAT?
In truth, it’s a question that can never be answered. It’s purely down to personal opinion.
And the same applies for every other sport.
That said, both Messi and Ronaldo are undoubtedly part of the conversation – and that alone means they’ve achieved extraordinary things over the course of their respective careers.