Why Lionel Messi can’t be world champion

Messi as provocateur in the World Cup quarterfinals against the Netherlands.Image: keystone


Magic flea Lionel Messi could end his career by beating France in the World Cup final. My sympathies are more than clear – because for me Messi is just as pompous, arrogant footballer as many others.

Sergio Mining

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First of all: I qualified for writing this anti-Messi tirade through countless discussions at the lunch table. I often sit there with my colleagues in our sports department and I’ve told them my dislike of Lionel Messi just as often. and because I openly say that I hate Messi as a footballer because I was so passionate about my arguments, I was asked to share them with the rest of the world. I’d love to!

A comment

In a comment I give my personal opinion on a topic. Especially with this topic I am sure that I will trigger many user comments with my opinion. But that’s a good thing, you’re welcome to discuss it – the regulars’ table is open.

I love football and I think I can take part in discussions with our sports editors, but my opinion is more for the regulars’ table. I don’t just watch games during big tournaments, but throughout the year when only three out of many points are at stake in one of 38 league games. The Spanish league in particular has impressed me for years.

The eternal question in football: Ronaldo or Messi?

So it is already clear that I am not interested in the discussion “Messi or Ronaldo?” came around. And yes, I am pro Ronaldo. And yes, that is of course the main reason why I would not begrudge Messi the world title with a single cell in my body.

The question “Messi or Ronaldo?” has shaped many football fans around the world for years. For both players it was already clear before the tournament that it would be their last World Cup. Both players have won practically everything there is to win at club level. Both have also lifted continental trophies with the national team. Messi won the Copa America in 2021, Ronaldo was European champion with Portugal in 2016. So it was relatively obvious that the two wanted to complete their careers with the world championship title. A dream that has already burst for Ronaldo. Although with his ambition I can well imagine that we will see him again in four years, but that is another topic.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after he failed to score during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Morocco and Portugal, at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022...

Will we see a 41-year-old Cristiano in America in 2026? Well, then probably more on the sidelines than on the pitch.Image: keystone

Now this World Cup title in sandy Qatar would answer the question that we football fans and experts have been discussing for several hours. The question that was already responsible for ending friendships. The question that divides all (soccer) humanity.

No, it must not end like this. The question of the true GOAT, the greatest of all time, must not be defined by the world title.

Ronaldo more impressive for me

My opinion on this has been clear for a long time. For the past few years, Messi has been playing at , ​​where everything has been built around him so that the sensitive magic flea feels comfortable. Players were bought according to his game development, the game system was adapted to him.

Unlike Ronaldo, who has always changed his own game system according to age in order to keep up with the best. After that, Messi moved on to Paris to win title after title with a bought-together clique of millionaires in the French league. Bravo, really incredibly brave to take on this challenge. After all, the owners’ money is only enough for national and not international titles.

Unforgettable how Messi as a small bunch (redundancy intended) crying miserably said that he loved Barcelona and didn’t want to leave. A few days later, the hand is on the PSG crest, the T-shirt says “We are Paris” and inside is a grinning Messi. Apparently, money quickly gets over pain. After this transfer story, some people are actually surprised that I despise Messi.

Ronaldo moved to in Serie A, which is arguably a far greater challenge. He became the top scorer and has thus also proved himself in Italy. He was top scorer in Italy, England and Spain. The “big” Messi so far only in Spain.

So while the magic flea could rely on his talent as usual, Ronaldo continued to work for his success. What Messi was born with in terms of talent, Ronaldo has always worked hard for through his ambition. For me, the two players are (or rather were) never really comparable. Both footballers are out of this world in their own way. What always seemed to me to be a kind of island talent with Messi was, in my view, diligence and hard work with Ronaldo. He did everything to be where he was and always faced new, real challenges. That makes him a more impressive player to me.

Also, the fact that Messi was always much better off in the media than “the arrogant Ronaldo, who is only interested in himself and his appearance” made my sympathies wander towards Ronaldo’s camp. Which of the two has their entire arm and leg tattooed? In addition, Messi’s hairstyle fits at least as well as Ronaldo’s in every game. The Argentine liked to have the spotlight on himself at least as much as CR7. You saw that again at this World Cup.

An example? In the semi-final against the Croatians, Messi prepared the 3-0 with a magistral dribbling. After the pass, Messi turned alone in front of the stands filled with Argentina fans with outstretched arms and let himself be celebrated. Only then did he turn to scorer Julian Alvarez to celebrate with him. What does that tell you about his character? Messi is showered with praise for dribbling, while Ronaldo would have been torn apart by the media for such a self-portrayal.

Unfortunately, the cut is to Messi’s advantage. However, on the 2nd and 3rd repeats, the scene is briefly visible in front of the fans. Video: SRF

Ronaldo gets torn when he leaves the pitch angrily after games and throws away his captain’s armband. The arrogant Ronaldo, spoiled with victories. But the fact that he was striving for victory with every fiber of his body and doing everything for victory is forgotten. If he gets upset that a pass isn’t coming to him as requested, he’s called arrogant or selfish, not passionate or ambitious.

With Messi it’s the other way around. If things don’t go well for his team, Messi isn’t the player who can push his teammates back with ambition. Of course, Messi has incredible individual actions that can change a game. But if these do not arrive as usual, you will see him running even less than usual. But he is the introverted, calm and quiet Messi who is not as egocentric as Ronaldo and is therefore spared. Messi may offer less of a target for the media due to his nature, but he is not exactly a model professional either.

Sure, Messi is under a lot of pressure, which we also saw during and especially after the game against the Netherlands. That’s understandable, after all, a whole country expects nothing less from him than the highest football trophy in the world. He basically has to follow in Maradona’s footsteps.

Nevertheless, scenes like the one from the Netherlands game also show those football fans who only watch football games every two years what the rest of us have known for a long time: Messi is just as narcissistic, arrogant and pompous football player on the football field as many others.

He has proven time and time again that, like Ronaldo, he plays for his own name and not just that of the team. Whether at Barça, Argentina or PSG. That a Messi should be more likeable and therefore the better of the two is completely beyond me. Of the two, Ronaldo is the player who has done better in more difficult circumstances in their respective careers.

Certainly many will not be able to understand my opinion, which, as mentioned at the beginning, I can never change. But since it’s the same the other way around, I don’t want to hear the next 20 years: “Messi is the better because he became world champion.” For me, winning the world championship title does not define the better end of the respective careers, which lasted more than 15 years before that.

IMAGO / Alterphotos Leo Messi of FC Barcelona Barca celebrates after scoring a goal during the match of La Liga between Real Madrid and Futbol Club Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, S ...

Messi very modest.