The greatness of the Lionel Messi was almost a secret as the decade began. He had already finished three times among the top three in the ballot for the annual Ballon d’Or Trophy, presented to the biggest player in world football, and won the prize with a landslide in 2009.
And yet, at the time of his career, he was a mere mortal.
MORE: Goal.com World Decade Football Team
He has scored 38 goals in all competitions for FC Barcelona in the 2008-09 season, including 23 in 31 La Liga games. That’s a lot, but it’s the kind of number that the best people approach each year. The average Golden Boot winner in the Premier League over the last 10 years has scored 30 goals from high (32 from Mohamed Salah in 2018) to low (20 from Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov in 2011).
Since Messi began conquering for a decade that, even in the end, no one has yet correctly named – the “dozens” simply do not throw the tongue – this overall goal seems almost strange. It’s like the difference between Peter Parker and Spider-Man.
Messi in 2010: 47 goals.
Messi in 2011: 53 goals.
Messi in 2012: 73 goals.
“Although he may not be human, it is good that Messi still believes he is,” midfielder Javier Mascherano told his long-time team-mate with Barcelona and Argentina.
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Seriously, he did things that seemed unthinkable before he got on stage. When Babe Ruth threw 54 runs for the Yankees in 1921, no one had ever hit more than 29. (The same was the Babe.) Messi’s run in the early years of this decade looks like this degree of domination. There is a word for it now in English: Ruthian. You won’t find it in all dictionaries, but it has been found on sports pages almost as often as the results of a baseball slot machine.
Messi has averaged 52.3 goals per season in all matches in the last decade. And that says nothing about his stunning performance. He scored four more goals per season than his big rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, did for Real Madrid and then Juventus. When you throw in the comparison, Messi was averaging 20 on Ronaldo’s 13. Messi has also won the Ballon d’Or five times this decade, more than Ronaldo.
All of those goals and all that help produced seven La Liga titles for Barcelona, five Copa Del Rey leagues and two UEFA Champions League triumphs. Barca also won the FIFA Club World Cup in two appearances.
It is a measure of Messi’s greatness that he has been suffering for nearly five years since Barcelona last won the Champions League – even when the club have won four out of five league titles averaging seven points.
It is a measure of Messi’s greatness who has appeared in three major international matches with Argentina during the season – the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa America and the 2016 Copa America Centenario – and continues to be criticized for failing to score for his national team. .
This is the height set by the template.
While still active, long-time England and Chelsea defender John Terry called Messi “clearly the best player ever”. He called it “a pleasure” to challenge Messi and said that when his career was over, he could look back “I’ve tried my best.”
With the numbers
166: Aims of the championship between 2014 and 2019:
68: The association helps between 2014 and 2019
527: Barcelona between 2014 and 2019
46.2 percent: Messi direct participation in Barca league goals
What they say:
“He’s better than you with his right foot, his left foot and his head. It’s better to defend and attack. It’s faster. Better in the dribble, better in the pass … I wouldn’t put him in the end yet, but what would he do? if you try it too. “- Xavi, then midfielder of FC Barcelona, during the 2010-11 season
Next decade belongs to: Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe has already won the World Cup for 17 months and his 21st birthday arrives this week. He’s the most dynamic to get into the game in a generation, with the speed and control that few others have. He has scored 55 times in 67 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain since joining the club in 2017, including 13 in 21 Champions League games. However, its impact on the club’s biggest competitions may be cut short as it stays with Paris. PSG did not advance beyond the 16th round of the Champions League during Mbappe in Paris and this is with teammates Neymar and Edinson Cavani. PSG is integrated into the dominant Ligue 1 club, but can it grow beyond that, or should it look for a new home in England, Spain or Italy to have a chance at the other biggest game prize?