Lionel Messi

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lbb
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Lionel Messi

Post by lbb » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:50 am

No bad. Not bad at all. Could get a game in the SPL if he grew a few inches and beefed up a bit. Wonder how he would cope with Ross Tokeley.

It looked such an effortless performance, too. Four goals against Arsenal and yet he never looked as though he was at the top of his game. He looked as though he had an extra gear(s) if needed. Barcelona, as a team, gave that impression.

I don't know if I'd say he was as good as Maradona yet or Cruyff, Van Basten et al but he's getting there.

I've grown tired of Wenger's whinging over the last couple of years about the alleged 'robust' tactics of Arsenal's opponents. After the Barcelona matches, he has looked shell-shocked. No hiding place now.

Slightly annoyed by the presumption by commentators, made before the first leg too, that these were two clubs whose fans demand they play exciting football. Yes, that's right. Supporters of other teams don't particularly want to see good football. It's generally only fans of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man Utd, etc. who enjoy seeing good football. Personally, I hate watching good football.

Yes, Messi might make it as a player. Souness was right (and Souness would probably know :twisted: ) that only injury will stop him achieving the lot.

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Re: Lionel Messi

Post by Gorgiewave » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:06 am

lbb wrote:No bad. Not bad at all. Could get a game in the SPL if he grew a few inches and beefed up a bit. Wonder how he would cope with Ross Tokeley.
It looked such an effortless performance, too. Four goals against Arsenal and yet he never looked as though he was at the top of his game. He looked as though he had an extra gear(s) if needed. Barcelona, as a team, gave that impression.

I don't know if I'd say he was as good as Maradona yet or Cruyff, Van Basten et al but he's getting there.

I've grown tired of Wenger's whinging over the last couple of years about the alleged 'robust' tactics of Arsenal's opponents. After the Barcelona matches, he has looked shell-shocked. No hiding place now.

Slightly annoyed by the presumption by commentators, made before the first leg too, that these were two clubs whose fans demand they play exciting football. Yes, that's right. Supporters of other teams don't particularly want to see good football. It's generally only fans of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man Utd, etc. who enjoy seeing good football. Personally, I hate watching good football.

Yes, Messi might make it as a player. Souness was right (and Souness would probably know :twisted: ) that only injury will stop him achieving the lot.
Maybe so, but if Rudi Skacel was still with us....

I believe he'll be 26 in 2014, the same age Maradona was in 1986. Winning the World Cup in Rio as the oustanding player of the tournament would surely elevate him to Diego Armando's level.

It might sound petty to say, but I still prefer the hard-running player who attacks from deep: Rooney (W), Gascoigne, Nick Barmby, Paul Hartley, even Phil Stamp.

I can't wait to see C. Ronaldo's face at 23.45 on Saturday.
"He took about half an hour to do it, but he did it!"

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Post by lbb » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:40 am

Rooney is about power, pace. I can't see him sustaining his level of physical performance for many more years. Unless he's some kind of machine.

Messi has strength but it doesn't define his game. The skills he has can be retained. Such a great variety of goals last night, from different positions on the field. Great movement.

It'll be a fascinating match on Saturday. You get a better atmosphere in the Bernabeu than you do in the Nou Camp for these games, in my view.

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Post by msdkfc » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:53 am

No doubt large parts of the English media will still claim Rooney is the best player in the world, because he's doing it in the EPL.

The same thing happened with Ronaldo before he moved to Madrid. The insinuation is, because they have scored 30 goals a season or whatever, they must automatically be the best in the world, because they've done it in England, and that's the best league in the world don't you know..

Really gets on my goat that, the kind of sly, English arrogance.

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Post by lbb » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:53 am

I had considered Sky's coverage to be quite generous in the circumstances - they normally like to defend the English teams as much as possible. Andy Gray led the praise for Messi. Someone has just pointed out to me that this is simply Sky's narrative for the season and the English exits in the Champions League - Arsenal lose to Messi, Chelsea lose to Mourinho, Liverpool lose to Benitez (!) and if Man Utd lose tonight it will be the absence of Rooney. The fact Barcelona, Bayern and Inter may well be good teams hasn't been sufficiently acknowledged by them perhaps.

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Post by lbb » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:36 pm

Image

The thing with Xavi is, though, that you don't see him winning many headers.

Walcott didn't exactly, er, shine. Thought he bottled it with the chance and passed the buck to Bendtner. Even then, he gave him a terrible pass. He was lucky Bendtner was able to retrieve the situation.

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Re: Lionel Messi

Post by Scottish » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:00 pm

lbb wrote: Personally, I hate watching good football.
That would account for the Ibrox season ticket then?


Seems there’s two topics going on here – the usual complaints about bias in favour of English-based players and just how good is Messi.

To address the former first, I think that if Man Utd do go out tonight it will be the fault of their Scottish manager, rather than the missing Rooney. I yield to no one in my admiration for what Lord Ferg of Govan has achieved over so many years but, as Oscar Wilde would undoubtedly have written were he to still be alive today and working as a Sky pundit, to lose one Ronaldo may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose a Tevez at the same time looks like carelessness. And to rely on a Rooney staying fit all season is most certainly the triumph of hope over experience.

For years when the English league was touted routinely as ‘the best in the world’ it was possible to point elsewhere to find evidence to the contrary. That hasn’t been the case in recent years and I no longer think it hyperbole for that claim to be made. It IS the best in the world. More to the point it should be given the money spent on players salaries. But it is no longer what made it a great league for so long, the most competitive and least predictable of the big leagues. Not when the likes of Spurs, Villa and Everton are regarded as ‘wee’ teams. The days when a Nottingham Forest or Derby County could win the title and Ipswich and QPR go close to doing the same are gone and not returning.

To be fair others make the same claim. Spanish TV routinely proclaims La Liga is the best in the world before live matches and I don’t imagine the Italians are exactly reticent on the subject either.

The injury card was also played a lot last night with regard to Arsenal. But Barcelona were hampered just as much by unavailability of key players. The central defensive pairing of Pique and Puyol were both suspended, the main striker Ibrahimovic was out injured and so for 89 minutes was Andres Iniesta. Eric Abidal was lost to injury with forty minutes still to play.

Walcott was actually the only English player to feature in the two legs and yes he didn’t have a good night but to be fair to him if it weren’t for his goal at the Emirates the tie would have been over before the teams kicked off. Wenger really had no option but to pick him and see if he could do it again. But as one of the Spanish papers pointed out today, sure, Walcott is fast but so was Linford Christie and he never scored many goals either.

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Post by Scottish » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:33 pm

Regarding Messi, I’ve had the privilege of watching him in the flesh on many occasions and he certainly has the potential to be the best player of my lifetime. At the moment my 1-2-3 would be Maradona, Pele, Cruyff. In that order. I first saw Messi come on as a substitute (along with one H Larsson) in a match against Zaragoza that Barcelona were losing 2-0 but which ended up 2-2. That was almost five years ago and it was clear then he was something special. Of course even back then he had been hyped up as the new superkid on the block. For once all the hype merchants were right.

While I would unhesitatingly agree that he is the best player currently active in world football (and IMHO has been for almost two years) I’d hesitate to give him an all-time ranking the way some are keen to do. The reason is simple: we don’t know yet what this man can do. He could play for another ten years at the top level, winning countless titles at club and international level. OTOH his career could end tomorrow. Possibly injuries could force an early retirement with his speed and mobility reduced compared to what it is now. He has already had a couple of longish lay-offs and is a target for hatchet men every time he steps out onto the pitch.

It’s impossible to say. Messi is only 22 and has a clutch of medals but Pele had a World Cup winners medal at 17 for instance. I think the time for a genuine assessment of where a player stands is when his career is over. There are many who at their peak are the best around but once they begin to be assessed historically a different view is formed. A good example is Paul Gascoigne, the second most naturally talented British footballer I have ever seen (George Best being the, well, the best). Thanks to injuries and illness his best years were before his 24th birthday. The younger Gazza looked destined to be an all-time great but who would claim that status for him now? OTOH George Best himself, although he played into his late thirties was effectively finished at 26. Yet, unlike Gazza, Best would still rank alongside the very best in many people’s eyes.

Ruud Gullit made the point last night that Maradona made both Napoli and Argentina single-handedly (pun unavoidable) whereas Messi plays with a great club side and that I think is something that can be ranked more objectively. I can’t really remember the great Real Madrid side that won five European Cups (though I did see the team that won the sixth European Cup play at Rugby Park) but to my mind a really great team has to dominate in Europe. On that score Ajax Amsterdam & Bayern Munich in the 1970s, Liverpool in the 1970s-early 1980s and AC Milan in the late eighties have been the truly great club sides of my lifetime. IMHO the current Barcelona team can stand comparison with any of them. This is a side which in recent seasons has seen players like Henrik Larsson and Thierry Henry – idolised in the UK as superstars – perform as not quite bit part players but not first team regulars either. In the summer of 2008 they lost five first team players including the likes of Ronaldinho & Deco who would walk into most sides. Yet they won everything in sight.

In fact I place the arrival of Messi as the best player in the world at the same time as Ronaldinho’s departure. Barcelona appears to be one of those clubs where one player always has to be ‘the man’ whether they seek the role or not. In recent times I can think of Romario, Ronaldo (the Brazilian one), Rivaldo, Figo, and, latterly Ronaldinho. Once he was gone (and with Barcelona undoubtedly having got his best years out of him) there was suddenly no dilemma for the team in who to pass to. And no dilemma for Messi himself. I am of the view that, great player though he was, Messi couldn’t really shine with Ronaldinho in the team. And Barcelona ARE a team. Stop Messi and you haven’t stopped Barcelona. Maybe if you can stop Messi, Xavi and Iniesta then you might have a chance. I don’t think it coincidence that the worst performance I’ve seen in the past two seasons was in November 2008 when, after nine straight league wins, they could only draw with Getafe at home in a match in which neither Messi nor Iniesta played.

Of course it is perfectly possible Barcelona may yet win nothing this season. Real Madrid are a far better team than last year and better managed too (even though the coach will pay for failure in Europe at the end of the season) and no one should underestimate the capacity of Jose Mourinho to send out a side capable of spoiling, battling and scratching their way to victory over two legs, nor the tactical acumen of Louis Van Gaal as opposed to the ‘attack, attack, attack’ wonderful naivety of Bayern under Klinsmann.

Even if that happens I stick by what I said about this team. Usually when the press start universal praise I look for a reason to debunk the herd mentality. Not in this instance because they’re right. This team really is something special. So is Lionel Andres Messi. And in years to come it will be a great privilege to think back on some of their historic moments and think to myself ‘I was there.’

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Lionel Messi

Post by Snuff » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:38 am

David - how do you cope?

How do you get your head round, having grown-up watching Jim McSherry, Lionel Messi?

Respect, sir.
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Re: Lionel Messi

Post by lbb » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:50 am

scottish wrote: That would account for the Ibrox season ticket then?
Absolutely. You don’t go there to enjoy yourself. Well, I certainly don’t see anyone laughing.

My impression is that Ferguson’s hands were tied by the Glazers. He persuaded Ronaldo to stay another year and wanted to keep Tevez but, in both situations, he’s ultimately had to accept the wishes of the owners. It’s noticeable, too, that he has received very little of the monies from the Ronaldo sale. He partly has himself to blame. The former Govan shop steward seems to turn to jelly when in the presence of serious money.

I didn’t see the full match yesterday – only the highlights – but I disagreed with his assessment that Man Utd deserved to go through over the tie. Bayern Munich were unlucky to only win 2-1 in the first game and they seemed to have as many chances as United last night according to the highlights. I did chuckle at his complaint over the Bayern players hounding the referee to get Rafael sent off. This is the guy who introduced the tactic in Scotland and then took it to Old Trafford with him.

Pele played in a great team at international level but never committed himself to testing his abilities on a regular basis in the stronger leagues of Europe – Italy, Spain, England. That always counts against him, in my book. I agree that the current Barcelona team are on the verge – if they retain the CL – of becoming one of the greats. Half of their side on Tuesday coming through the ranks is a real raspberry in the face of those oligarchs who seek to buy the Big Cup.

Very interesting post regarding Messi, especially from someone who has witnessed his development first-hand. The English press have been slow to acknowledge the ability of Messi – Sid Lowe of the Guardian writes an interesting article here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog ... s-reaction) which covers this failure in detail including Phil Thompson’s assertion that "Wayne Rooney is streets ahead of Messi."

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Re: Lionel Messi

Post by Scottish » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:36 am

Snuff wrote: How do you get your head round, having grown-up watching Jim McSherry, Lionel Messi?
Well, wee Jim was always going to be a hard act to follow but I think that at long last we have a successor.

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Post by Tom Brogan » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:52 am

Good article from Oliver Kay in The Times today on Messi.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/ ... 091139.ece

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Post by Scottish » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:33 pm

Seems lbb isn't the only one to have a downer on Walcott

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Post by lbb » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:57 pm

scottish wrote:Seems lbb isn't the only one to have a downer on Walcott
ANDY GRAY IS A BAFFOON!!!!

Someone actually read the article and then composed this response as the one that best encapsulates their feelings on the subject.

Walcott is all pace and no touch. He's an athlete, not a footballer. Unfortunately, that appears to have been Wenger's bizarre strategy of the last few years. Rather than find talent and develop the physical attributes, he has sought to sign athletes and try and turn them into footballers. It hasn't worked.

I don't like Richard Keys, though. Arrogant man promoted beyond his abilities.

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Re: Lionel Messi

Post by Scottish » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:35 pm

lbb wrote: Slightly annoyed by the presumption by commentators, made before the first leg too, that these were two clubs whose fans demand they play exciting football.
I missed this earlier. Yes, you're right. Rather odd to think this way of the support who coined the chant '1-0 to the Arsenal' and whose defence was lampooned famously in 'The Full Monty.'

Expanding the topic a bit is that self-confessed international fraudster Tony Cascarino (regular column in The Times, who said cheats never prosper?) with this idiotic question "Have there ever been five better forwards than Torres, Drogba, Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo playing at the same time on the same continent?"

It just so happened that at the same time there appeared on Catalan television today's ceremony marking the installation of Johan Cruyff as honorary president of Barcelona. Standing alongside Cruyff were his contemporaries Eusebio and Bobby Charlton.

They of course played at the same time as George Best, Denis Law, Luis Suarez, Sandro Mazzola, Gerd Muller, Kenny Dalglish, Jimmy Johnstone, Jimmy Greaves, Gianni Rivera, Gerd Muller and Gigi Riva.

That of course was long before the days of Roberto Baggio, Eric Cantona, Hristo Stoichkov, Jurgen Klinsmann, Marco Van Basten Alan Shearer, Romario, Ronaldo I and Luis Figo.

But it was after the era of Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Raymond Kopa, Just Fontaine, Uwe Seeler, Wilf Mannion, Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm

Mind you Cascarino always talked cack

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