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Gefle IF V IF Elfsborg Boras, Mar 15
Ordaye (Liverpool) 4 years ago
Is There Anyone Better than Messi?

In the end Messi turned out to be the central thread in the web of football. He was, to put it simply, everywhere and anywhere a footballer could possibly be on the football pitch and did everything and anything a footballer could possibly do on the football pitch (except get sent off, that is). The former Newell's Old Boys youngster ran half the length of the pitch, hoodwinked a cluster of bemused Stuttgart defenders and rifled a sweet shot that seared into the Jens Lehmann's net. He set up Yaya Toure to provide the assist for Barca's second with a pass that only Xavi could manufacture, himself shot home another very soon and could have scored his second hat-trick in a week. So much so that a commentator exclaimed, "He seems to do it all on his own. "

But by saying that "he seems to do it all on his own", the commentator meant just that - he seems to do it all on his own but doesn't actually do it all on his own. Jesus wouldn't have been able to do what He did without his apostles and Messi wouldn't be as effective without his Barcelona teammates. Daniel Alves was so sensational that a fellow Goal.com journalist marked him as "the most talented player on the planet", Pedro was again brilliant, Toure filled in for Xavi perfectly, Maxwell enjoyed going on the attacks and Thierry Henry looked mobile and enthusiastic.

Yet it was Messi who stunted them all.

At the weekend the world's finest footballer did exceptionally well too as he scored a scintillating hat-trick against Valencia. Curiously, all the three goals were quite similar and came from the same side, but the first one was a gem - not one of those 200-yard blinders that nine times out of ten end outside the stadium but a marvelous blend of vision, technique, skill and pace: a perfect amalgamation of poetry and prose. At the moment it did look like Messi will succeed in everything. Anything.

Which is why his 'failure' with Argentina so far has been so stark. Detractors suggest that Messi looks good at Barca only because he is surrounded by world class players especially Xavi and Andres Iniesta, and indicate that for Argentina, a weirdly dysfunctional squad under Diego Maradona, he looks redundant. Which is true but it is more complicated than that. At Barcelona Messi is part of a well-functioning, well-theorised and well-thought system but for los Albicelestes, Maradona fails to create that same environment. And until Messi learns how to turn water into wine and turn a battered Argentina side into world champions, there will always be fingers pointed at him



   
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