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Lionel Messi The Greatest Ever? Not Until He Wins A World Cup
At just 24 years of age, the career accomplishments of Lionel Messi are already quite staggering. He has recently become Barcelona's all time leading scorer, he is the reigning World Player of the Year for the past 3 seasons, and is the only player to score 5 goals in a Champions League match. When you compare Messi at age 24 to other great footballers, it seems understandable that many people are suggesting he may be the greatest player of all time. That is until you look at his international career for Argentina, which leaves a lot to be desired.
His international career started well at the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2005, winning both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot award for the tournament's leading scorer with 6 goals. In his FIFA World Cup debut in 2006, he played well coming off the bench, however he failed to dominate, and didn't make it on to the pitch in Argentina's final match against Germany (a shootout loss).
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, expectations were high, with all eyes on Messi as the greatest player in the world at the time. Again Messi would play well, but lacked the dominance that he has displayed at club level. Messi failed to score throughout the tournament, and Argentina was eventually eliminated once again by the Germans.
In order to be considered the greatest footballer of all time, you have to compete with the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona, both of whom have not only won World Cups, but completely dominated the tournament. If Messi finishes his career without hoisting the game's most prestigious trophy, it will be difficult to consider him the greatest of all time, at the very least you would have to put an asterix beside his name, representing his lack of international success.
At this stage in his career, he may well have 2 or 3 more World Cups ahead of him, and if he can ever hit his stride in the tournament, Argentina could be victorious. In the mean time, any discussion about the greatest players of all time, should be a debate over whether you choose Pele or Maradona.
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Lionel Messi International Career Stats (2012)
First Name: Lionel Andres
Last Name: Messi Cuccittini
Date of Birth: June 24, 1987
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 67 kg
Shoots : Left
Games Played : 49
Goals Scored : 19
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