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No More Debates or Doubts, It’s Time to Acknowledge Messi as the GOAT

Thirteen years old. That’s how old Lionel Messi was when he left Rosario, Argentina for Barcelona. Little did he know this would be the place where the greatest story in the world of soccer would start to be written. At only 4’8 in height, not many scouts or experts in the sport saw any real potential coming from the kid.

But 22 years later, and coming off winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the only title that still alluded him, the joke’ on those stupid enough not to look past the physicality issues and more into the undeniable talent Lio had to offer.

No More Debates or Doubts, It’s Time to Acknowledge Messi as the GOAT
Lionel Messi holds the FIFA World Cup Trophy - Anne-Christine Ppoujoulat / AFP

For years, the debate on who’s the world’s best soccer player has gone on and on like a broken record. While Pelé and Maradona always have a mainstay at the top of the conversation, for our generation, the fight was between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two masters of the sport.

Now, after completing the most significant feat in the history of the sport, one that led over five million of his country folks to hit the streets of Buenos Aires for what will go down as the biggest title celebration in the history of any sport, the debate is over.

We could look at the numbers and stats. Run down every single game Messi has played compared to all the other players tipped to be the sport’s greatest athletes. But nah, let’s just take a second, enjoy the moment, honor Lio, and talk about the how, when, where, and why he is soccer’s GOAT.

Let’s check the latest Soccer picks, stats, injury reports, and Soccer predictions. We’ve plenty of Soccer expert picks for you to consider.

After so Many Losses, a Win Had to Come

No More Debates or Doubts, It’s Time to Acknowledge Messi as the GOAT
Argentina’s captain and forward #10 Lionel Messi – Adrian Dennis / AFP

Just because you’re considered by many as the best ever to play the game, that doesn’t mean that you are perfect. In a career that has seen Messi win 37 club titles with Barcelona and PSG, including four UCL titles, three FIFA Club World Cup trophies, and seven Ballon d’Or awards, it’s his losses that stand out the most at times.

Ever since his debut on August 17th, 2005, with the senior Argentina soccer team in a friendly match against Hungary, Messi’s story with his national team would be one of peril above everything else. For example, that first appeared in Budapest only lasted two minutes, as Messi was sent off with a red card.

What followed afterward was a constant stream of ups and downs, with a 2008 Summer Olympics gold medal triumph being the highlight of a period of losses upon losses.

After taking over the captaincy, Messi’s road with Argentina would only continue to get more and more complicated. A World Cup finals appearance in 2014, where Argentina would lose to Germany in overtime, followed by three straight Copa América debacles and an early departure from the 2018 World Cup. But even with the losses, a team without any real identity, and a short retirement from international competition, Messi came back and continued on his path.

2021 would be the year in which Messi and Argentina started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With a Copa América title win in the historic Maracaná Stadium in Rio de Janeiro against their most hated rival Brazil, the curse had been broken and all negativity had been pushed aside. Everything was finally going in Argentina’s favor for once.

He Had Nothing Left to Prove, But Everything as Well

No More Debates or Doubts, It’s Time to Acknowledge Messi as the GOAT
Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi – Franck Fiefe / AFP

After winning his last Copa América in 2021 and the Finalissima in 2022, one would think that the historic debt that always hung above Messi’s head with Argentina would’ve been paid off. And by all means, yes.

With Lio leading the helm, Argentina managed to do something it hadn’t done since 1993, win an international trophy. But why stop there, then?

In the buildup leading to Qatar 2022, Argentina was seen as one of the stronger teams in the tournament but not one of the favorites per se. Be it because of past results in the World Cup or the thought that maybe Argentina was over-extending their welcome into soccer’s biggest winning streak; the odds were not in Messi’s favor.

But you know what was in his favor? His teammates’ desire to help him win, the push of a whole country backing him up, and the world of soccer, in general, all rooting for him.

As soon as Gonzalo Montiel scored the final penalty against France in the finals, the world came to a stop. What had just happened? Were we really witnesses to soccer’s version of poetic justice?

After years of having to prove himself to everyone, especially those who cheered his performances one day and then doomed him the next, there was literally nothing else for Messi to prove. He had lifted those who didn’t think they could get back up again. He made believers out of his harshest critics. He crossed his last great feat off his list.

Thank You, Lio

No More Debates or Doubts, It’s Time to Acknowledge Messi as the GOAT
Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi – Frank Fife / AFP

Who knows if soccer will see another story like Messi’s? When you look back at all the players he faced, the trophies he won, and above all, how he managed to bring the world to his feet based on his talent and fight, what else can one do?

As a sports fan, one who had the joy and privilege to see Messi’s career from its first games with Barcelona until now and whatever more time there is left in his ride, I can only be thankful.

Thankful for his talents, his goals, his assists, and his balls of steel that made him never back out of a fight, no matter how gargantuan it seemed. But above all, thankful for how he never gave up and managed to give the perfect ending to the best story in the world of professional sports.

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