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Football

Does Messi have to move away from Barcelona to seal greatness?

Messi has scored 608 goals for Barcelona (Agency Photos)

Over the years, some football fans across the globe have come out to claim that Lionel Messi thrives because he plays for Barcelona.

The numbers tend to throw some truth in the allegation as the Argentine captain has almost done it all for Barca but not anywhere else, sadly, not even for his country.

When you look at the fact that he has won 32 trophies with Barca and scored an incredible 608 goals, it just sums up the issue.

Despite all that, Messi is still yet to win anything for his beloved Argentina at senior level, the only other jersey he had donned aside from Barca’s.

The only victories he has achieved with the Albiceleste is, winning the U17 World cup in 2005 and also helping them to their only Gold Medal at the Olympics back in 2008.

Not that the two don’t count, but just that they are not senior level triumphs and will always be ignored by the football faithful.

However, not that Messi has not tried as he has come close on not fewer than three occasions, all being finals which he and Argentina have lost narrowly with his impact minimal.

They lost 1-0 to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and went on to lose to Chile on penalties in the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals.

That brings a lot of questions and an endless debate to whether Messi can thrive elsewhere apart from Barcelona.

When his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Italy, the world opened their eyes to see if the Portuguese goal machine would thrive in a third league and he has so far, as per me.

Scoring 26 goals in 38 games may be below the standards Ronaldo set at Real but good enough numbers to prove he still got it even at the age of 33.

Ronaldo has scored 26 goals in 36 games for Juventus so far.

The reason i bring Ronaldo here is because there would possibly be no Messi without Ronaldo as both greats have pushed one another to limits that the football world has never seen or heard of before.

Unlike Messi of course, Ronaldo had done it all in the Premier League, La Liga and now trying to seal it in the Serie A, yet Messi continues thriving at the only place he knows how to – Spain.

Not that it is a crime after all he plays for the best club in the world, so why does he have to move to a side below the standards of Barca?

Many people would love to see how he would thrive in England and i too would but looking at the numbers he has continuously puts out against English opposition in the Champions League, suggest he can, if chance ever presents itself.

In 32 games against the English top 6, Messi has scored an incredible 24 goals and managed 13 assists, number that cannot be matched by any other footballer on the globe.

To think he has achieved that against the so called cream of English football, why wouldn’t he do likewise against sides like Everton, Newcastle United or Huddersfield Town?

This takes me back to the earlier question, of whether he has to move in order to seal his greatness. I don’t think he has to, after all he plays for the best and when he comes up against the second best, he does his thing and everyone is left holding their breath.

When you look at the greats of the game, most of whom we regard as the greatest of all time, they didn’t have to move from one League to another in order to seal their spots in the history of football.

Say Pele and Zidane for instance. The Brazilian sealed his spot at only Santos while Zidane did it at only two clubs, Juventus and Real Madrid.

Yes some have played in as many as four League or more, say, Ronaldo Da Lima but that didn’t make him any better than Pele or Zidane.

For me and for all its worth, Messi will always be the greatest of his generation and of the greatest of all time, even if he stays at only Barcelona.

For the meanwhile, I will just resort to enjoying the little magician do his thing while he lasts, after all he is not here forever.

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