LIONEL MESSI A COMBINATION OF NUMBER 8 (A CREATOR), A 9 (SCORER), AND A 10 (ASSISTANT)
He has been compared to the legendary Pele. But Lionel Messi is one terrific footballer ever to grace modern football. It is thought Christiano Ronaldo attracts his envy sometimes although he appears to be cool every time his rival wins the coveted Ballon d’Or right under his chin. But I’m not going to pitch them side by side and compare them. In fact, I think they are both impressively skilled.
Messi’s football prowess has never been well presented outside FC Barcelona – a Spanish giant he has been playing for since his youth years. After performing well in FC Barcelona and impressive football training, he made his professional debut in the 2002-2003 season at the club. Soccer training has been part of his great success. Although he dons Jersey number 10, he is considered to be a combo of a creator (number 8), a scorer (number 9) and an assistant (number 10).
Messi as a creator
Until when Neymar joined Barcelona, Messi was the greatest creator of scoring opportunities at Barcelona, a role he has since retained since the departure of the Brazilian to PSG. It is necessary to point out that second fiddle strikers who have taken the attacking role in FC Barcelona’s squads since 2003 have had their scoring opportunities created by Messi in one way or another. He can unleash himself from tight defenses and pass the ball to a striker instead of trying to score by himself. Take Luis Suarez for example, he has been a near perfect match with Messi when it comes to launching devastating center forward attacks. Thanks to his magical dribbles that he employs to curve the ball from the middle of opponents in trickiest angles. Messi is the only number 10 player I’ve ever seen who can dribble his way out of tight defenses in the 18 box, dash inside the box (almost falling but never falling) and then deliver a winding pass right to the feet of a well-positioned man, be it Luis Suarez or Vidal.
Messi as a scorer
Messi has scored more goals for Barcelona than any other player to ever grace the courts of Camp Nou. In the season of 2011-2012, he scored 73 goals – the most goals ever to be scored in one season by any player in European’s football history. He proceeded to grace other scoring milestones including being the first person ever to score 600 career football goals for both a country and club, most goals in La Liga by an individual player (365 and still counting), most goals in a single La Liga season (50), most El Clasico goals (26) and most goals in a single calendar year (91). Lionel Messi is certainly a scoring machine. What makes him so? It has something to do with his excellent playmaking skills and killer dribbles. If you watch Lionel Messi play, you will quickly notice that he can curve the ball from any position within the 18 box from any angle and deliver it into the net. Obviously, he doesn’t score like that always but most of his goals have had a touch of his incredible dribbling skills.
Sadly his goal-scoring prowess has not been felt in his national team as in FC Barcelona. With 123 caps, he has managed to score 61 goals. The figure looks big but Argentineans feel he can do better.
Messi as an assistant
Lionel Messi is the king of assists both in FC Barcelona and La Liga as a whole although not in every season. If you look at his entire career, he has provided more assists than any other player in La Liga. Thanks to his diminutive left foot dribbles and short powerful passes have ability delivering from center forward, he has assisted more goals than anyone else at Barcelona. Messi’s excellent passes and precision assists impressed Diego Maradona so much that the legendary star declared him his official successor but this is arguable because Diego himself was a controversial scorer, not an assistant. If you look at the statistics, Lionel Messi has far more assists in Liga (144). In the 2016-2017 season, Messi accounted for 23 goals scored by both Neymar and Suarez.
No forward in FC Barcelona has ever perfected the art of extracting the ball from the middlefield and distributing it to forward players. One of the factors that make him a deadly ball merchant who can place the ball to Suarez is his astounding chemistry with Busquets, Rakitic and Iniesta – the gods of a functional middle field. On December 23, 2017, El Clasico match, this perfect match was evident when Messi assisted Aleix Vidal’s goal before scoring a penalty himself. The match ended 3 nil for Barcelona.
In a nutshell, Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer alive. I’m not very sure if Ronaldo would love to hear this. While Ronaldo is a great scorer, Lionel Messi is an ace in everything you want to see a forward player. He is a combination of a scorer, assistant, and creator. Viva Leo!