Is Lionel Messi the greatest player of all time?

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has scored 86 goals since the start of this year. So is Messi the greatest player of all time? Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, DC, December 11, 2012 — I’m still shaking my head. It’s quite hard to believe. Barcelona star Lionel Messi has scored 86 goals since the start of this year. That is an unbelievable feat.

Goals are not easy to score, but Messi is a master of the art. On Sunday, in a game against Real Betis in the Spanish league, the Argentine ace scored his 85th and 86th goals in 2012 to break German great Gerd Mueller’s 40-year-old record for most goals in a year.

Is Messi the greatest player of all time? Is Messi better than Pele and Diego Maradona? One factor going in Messi’s favor is his jackrabbit speed and acceleration. 

With that unique burst of speed, Messi is able to create that extra space inside the 18-yard-box to score many of his goals with his left foot. And Messi still has three games left this year to score even more goals and establish a record that will probably be set in stone. Messi has scored 74 goals for Barcelona and 12 times for Argentina this year. Mueller scored 85 for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.

Most of Messi’s goals come from inside box where his agility and quick movement is a headache for defenders. His positioning is instinctive. He’s excellent from the penalty spot and free kicks. Messi makes it all look so easy; the ball seems to stick to his feet.
At Barcelona Messi is surrounded by a galaxy of talent.

One has to wonder what Pele and Maradona would have done with a supporting cast that included Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, and David Villa, just to name a few of the players that line up next to Messi each week. Remember, Maradona took Napoli to win the Italian title almost single-handedly, as he did with Argentina at the 1986 World Cup.

Like, Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Messi really needs to win a World Cup with Argentina to be claimed the greatest of all time. Or does he? See all of Messi’s goals at this link.

Soccer note — Korea’s professional league, the K-League, recognized the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon by presenting him with the Meritorious Award on December 3 at the 2012 K-league grand award ceremony, which was held at the Grand Hill Hotel Seodaemun-gu.

Rev. Moon, who founded The Washington Times, died on Sept. 3. He founded and sponsored seven-time Korean champion Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and the Peace Cup soccer event. The CEO of Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, Kyu-nam Park received the Meritorious Award on behalf of the Moon family.

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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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