Monday, January 09, 2012

Messi - the golden one

No surprise that Argentine and Barcelona star Messi won the Ballon D'Or, his third such honor. At the tender age of 24 will anyone be surprised if he ended up doubling his tally? He joins the only other three time winners - Zidane and Ronaldo (the Brazilian) - of the FIFA player of the year. Don't forget that the Ballon D'Or and FIFA player of the year award merged, in terms of Ballon D'Or, Messi joins the likes of Platini, Cruyff and Van Basten as three time winners.

As long as he has these two, more awards in Messi's future
What I find interesting of all these winners is their success for both club and country...except for Messi. All of these players won titles and were major contributors for their nation teams, their impact at the club level are all on the same level. Messi's success is disproportionately weighed to his run of form with Barcelona. There have been many discussions, articles, debates and opinions about why this is...there is no doubt that Barcelona, as it is currently constituted, is one of the best teams ever seen. However that is not unique to Messi, all the other winners above played on clubs that were also loaded: Zizou and Ronaldo did play for the Galacticos! The Milan teams of Van Basten were some of the best club teams ever seen. Cruyff's Ajax sides revolutionized total football. Platini's Juventus were one of Europe's best with the likes of Boniek, Rossi and Tardelli. All these winners also won on the international level.

Messi continues to struggle with Argentina. Maybe Argentina needs to stop trying to be Barcelona and figure out what is the best way to leverage the world's best player with the other pieces they have. It is not as if Argentina is full of chumps either - Tevez, Higuain, Pastore, Aguero, Mascherano and Di Maria to name a few. What is holding back Argentina is this attempt to build a Barcelona type system, rather than build a team and figure out where Messi would slot into the side. Until Argentina get a manager who is there for a longer time frame than a year or two, who devises a system and sticks with it, I fear that Messi might always be pushing when he puts on the light blue strip of Argentina. But for now he can thank Barcelona for allowing him to show the world what a wonderful talent he is.

Congratulation Lionel.

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