What Separates Messi, Pelé and Maradona? World cups 5

Messi focused on becoming a legend

Messi focused on becoming a legend

Having achieved so much, Lionel Messi is now down to just inches when being held in the same light as the greats.
Having already eclipsed Pele’s goal scoring record of 75 goals in a calendar year, set in 1958 and overcome Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in 1972, he now heads the list. A very long list of great and established recognizable names that we have on so many occasions uttered those famous words, “A great player”.

The hardest part is announcing it right now. Like an artist, they aren’t really recognized until they are dead and too late for them. However, Messi is an artist, on the field that is. I he is recognized already as a great. The question now being asked is, is he better than Pele or Maradona?

We are talking about different times, different eras, but similar results. I have had many many conversations, arguments about just this one topic alone, but another point that has been raised on many an occasion, “Is the defending better now than it was 40/50 years ago?” Also another point that has been suggested is that we have better athletes now, so it would be harder to achieve now, what they were so easily able to achieve then.

Maradona won the World Cup single handedly

Maradona won the World Cup single handedly

These are all very valid points. So how do we argue it? How do we make these things measurable? Well, the goals do not lie. As we speak Messi is the one player responsible for the most goals scored in a calendar year, more than any player in history. The best players in the world right now, can not even come close, so in this day he stands heads and heals apart from anyone else in the game. But back to the main question, the one thing that really does make them stand out is how they perform on the International level. How many World Cups has Messi won?

Pele and Maradona have almost two hand full between them. You can not say that Messi isn’t playing in a talented Argentina team, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria, Pablo Zabaleta, Fabricio Coloccini and Tevez just to name a few. Now try naming a few of the players that played along side Maradona. I can’t think of any. How ever, I can name some of the players that played along side Pele. Jaizinho, Gerson, Tostao and Revelino, all number 10’s in their own right.

The World Cup always hovers when Pele's name is mentioned

The World Cup always hovers when Pele’s name is mentioned

If you ask many of his Brazilian counterparts who actually played with him, they would tell you that he was good as anyone on the team, but not head and heals above them. The thing about Pele that stood out were the records.
The youngest player to play and win a world cup, the most world cups won by an individual player, the goal scoring records. Notice something in common, yes, it’s those words.


It doesn’t matter that players may have been faster, slower, fatter or shorter. What matters is that item of gold ware that is so coveted by all professionals. If you were to ask me, I would have Maradona rank the number one best of all time, followed closely by Pele and Messi, in that order. And until Messi wins a World Cup, he can never really be recognized as the all time best.